Final check in (#3): The 90 Day Blood Pressure Challenge

Monday, August 6th, 2018 | by

It’s been about two-and-a-half months since OMRON kicked off the 90 Day Blood Pressure Challenge. The basic terms of the challenge are:

  1. Check your blood pressure daily
  2. Track your numbers

Participants can also use the Challenge Calendar to introduce other healthy practices into their everyday lives. If you started in April and are following the calendar, you’re nearing the last few weeks.

Week 10  Increase your exercise to 2 or 2.5 hours a week
Week 11  Add one vegetable serving to lunch or dinner
Week 12  Keep up the good work

Over the previous weeks the calendar focused on essentials like nutrition, exercise and reducing stress for a more blood-pressure-friendly lifestyle.

Weekly recap

Week 1  Pick 1 to 3 quiet times per day to check your blood pressure
Week 2  Begin an exercise routine of 1 or 2 days a week
Week 3  Start a food diary to keep track of what you eat
Week 4  Set positive limits around alcohol and sodium
Week 5  Maintain your progress
Week 6  Look for trends in your food diary
Week 7  Increase exercise sessions to 30 minutes, 2 or 3 times a week
Week 8  Strive for 7 to 8 hours of sleep
Week 9  Moderate your caffeine intake and start a plan to quit smoking

Insights from the health influencers

A healthy lifestyle can lead to healthy blood pressure

Colby Shipwash took his 90 Day Blood Pressure Challenge as an opportunity to make positive life changes. These included:

  • Introducing a diet with lean proteins, healthy fats, nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Eliminating processed foods and those high in carbohydrates and sugar
  • Committing to regular walking and jogging, and successfully completing a 5K race

Colby and his finisher medal

Lowering your stress can lower your blood pressure

Pamela Lutrell experienced firsthand the effects of stress on blood pressure. Within one week of changing a stressful work environment, her blood pressure went from 142/90, which is considered stage 2 hypertension, to 113/52, which is in the normal range. While your own numbers might not change that dramatically, the link between stress-reducing activities and lower blood pressure is a known connection.

Pamela Lutrell’s “REM plan
REST – Rest more and get healthy sleep
EAT – Eat regular healthy meals at home and lower your salt intake
MOVE – Get more exercise and make walking part of your work day

Hispanic women have unique heart disease risks

Candy Calderon talks about the tendency for Hispanic women to put themselves last, in spite of their unique risk of heart disease. She points out:

  • Hispanic women are likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than non-Hispanics
  • Only 1 in 3 Hispanic women are aware of their increased likelihood of heart disease
  • Many women don’t realize that 80% of cardiac events are preventable with lifestyle changes

“One of the things that motivated me the most is the common belief among the women in my culture that heart disease is ‘a man’s thing.’
Candy Calderon

As part of her participation in the 90 Day Blood Pressure Challenge, Candy shares her holistic tips to prevent heart attacks and strokes, which include: healthy fats from foods like avocados; staying hydrated; eating watermelon and other foods with the anti-oxidant lycopene; and committing to regular yoga for fitness and relaxation.

The DASH diet

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or “DASH” diet has been shown to significantly lower blood pressure for people with prehypertension and hypertension. In her blog The Foodie Physician, Dr. Sonali Ruder talks about the DASH diet as emphasizing:

  • Plant-focused nutrition
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Low-fat and non-fat dairy
  • Lean meats, fish, poultry
  • Whole grains
  • Heart-healthy fats
  • Legumes, nuts and seeds
  • Low sodium
  • High fiber
  • Potassium, calcium and magnesium

A year of heart health, and many more

The 90 Day Challenge is more than a blood pressure boot camp. It’s a way to make regular monitoring, healthy nutrition, physical exercise and a balanced lifestyle part of every day of the  year.