In April Omron kicked off an effort to improve personal health and create a positive movement by 1) checking your blood pressure daily and 2) tracking your numbers. It’s called the 90 Day Blood Pressure Challenge. You can start the challenge any time, and if you started your Challenge Calendar last month, you’ve arrived at around week 6. Great job!
The challenge starts by starting good habits. Pick 1 to 3 times a day to check your blood pressure, and set aside a few minutes of quiet time.
Great affairs always start off being small.
– Lao Tzu
Begin an exercise routine of 1 or 2 days a week.
Start a food diary to keep track of what you eat.
Set positive limits:
- 1 alcoholic drink a day
- Refrain from adding extra salt to your food
Keep up the good work.
Look for trends in your food diary.
Starting week 7
- Mowing the lawn, raking leaves, gardening, sweeping up
- Active sports like basketball or tennis
- Climbing stairs
- Jogging or running
How and when you get to 30 minutes doesn’t matter. You can even add up smaller, 10-minute exercise breaks to reach 30.
Exercise lowers blood pressure by making your heart stronger, putting less strain on your blood vessels.
– Exercise: A drug-free approach to lowering high blood pressure
Checking in with the health influencers
The stress checklist
In her blog Ask Dr. Renee, Dr. Renee Matthews makes a connection between blood pressure, heart disease and stress. Research is still underway to discover the specific effects of stress on heart health. What we do know is, taking a moment to relax before taking your blood pressure gets a more accurate result.
Stress is sometimes hard to recognize until you’re in the middle of it. It’s helpful to keep an eye out for the way you experience stress. Some common stress reactions are:
- Stress eating and eating fast
- Speaking quickly
- Drinking alcohol and smoking
- Speeding through tasks without accomplishing them
- Having sleep troubles
An easy breathing technique
4-7-8 breathing is an easy way to slow things down.
- Take a slow, deep, abdominal breath for 4 seconds
- Hold it for 7
- Breathe out for 8
Along with managing your stress and following the 90 Day Challenge Calendar, other ways to control your blood pressure include:
- Watching your waistline (as opposed to just measuring weight)
- Limiting caffeine intake
- Getting support from friends and family
Tracking and sharing your numbers
There are many ways to record your daily blood pressure readings, like by hand, in an electronic personal health record, or on a computer or mobile device. Recording your numbers makes it easy to share them with your doctor, family or anyone else in your circle of support.
With the 90Day Challenge, our health bloggers and influencers were given an OMRON® Evolv blood pressure monitor to take and track their numbers. The author of Simply Sadie Jane is using the mobile app to sync up with her Evolv, which charts her numbers so she can keep an eye on her heart health trends and email the results to her doctor or family members.
When to contact your doctor
If your numbers are regularly elevated or high (above 130/80), or if you see these symptoms, it’s a good idea to connect with your doctor:
- Your doctor’s suggestions or prescriptions aren’t lowering your blood pressure
- Shortness of breath
- Excessive sweating
- Palpitations or irregular heartbeat
- Vision problems
Why blood pressure matters
High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. These are leading causes of death in the U.S. But high blood pressure is also a highly preventable condition that can be managed with healthy lifestyle changes and support—making it a great place to start your heart health journey.