During the pandemic, it is important that you continue to take care of your overall health, including your blood pressure. This is a stressful time, but don’t forget to take care of yourself. It’s more important now than ever!
Important: During the current restrictions it is advisable to monitor blood pressure at home if possible; except in the event of an emergency.
Here are some helpful ways you can take care of your blood pressure at home:
1.Find new ways to exercise.
With gyms closed and important social distancing efforts in place, it can be hard to know where and how to exercise. But don’t give up! During this time, it’s important that you find new ways to get your heart pumping. Think of it as a new challenge and find fun ways to get out of your ordinary routine. Remember, not getting enough physical activity increases your risk of getting high blood pressure.
“I think that exercising for many at this time takes creativity, and people should focus on finding ways to do it every day. Think outside the normal routine for other ways to get it in. Exercise videos, web classes, home gyms, and challenging friends to routines via zoom are particularly popular.” -Dr. Mark Backus
Other creative exercise ideas include:
-Take a daily walk or bike ride around your neighborhood.
-Get working in the garden! Yard work counts as exercise and for many, it is an emotionally rewarding activity that lasts many months.
-Wash your car. Add in some calf raises and leg squats as you scrub for a lower body workout!
-Grab the kids and a ball and pass some time in the yard.
2.Keep your diet in check.
This is a stressful time. For some, stress management can mean overeating or eating comfort foods that don’t help your body perform at its best. Take this moment to review your current diet and make some changes if necessary. Every day is a new day and a new opportunity to take better care of yourself. Good nutrition is essential for your health. A diet that is too high in salt, calories, sugar, and saturated and trans fat carries an additional risk of high blood pressure.
Too much stress, along with pain, anxiety and worry, may contribute to higher blood pressure. While this is a stressful time, there are many ways you can manage it for the good of your overall health. Try simple low-cost relaxation techniques such as keeping a journal, talking to friends, getting enough rest, and spending some time every day doing something you love. If news consumption is a source of stress for you, try to limit the amount of time you spend focusing on the stories of the day.
4.Keep tabs on your BP from home.
It is important to know your blood pressure. There are many easy, free ways to check your BP right here in our community, however, during the current state restrictions, it is advisable to monitor blood pressure at home if possible; except in the event of an emergency. If you don’t already have a blood pressure monitor, now would be a good time to invest in one. Before using, be sure to learn how to properly measure your blood pressure yourself.
5.Put a lid on drinking.
While this pandemic is stressful, it is important to keep bad habits in check especially those that can have a negative impact on your blood pressure. Regular, heavy use of alcohol can cause many health problems, including heart failure, stroke and an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). It can cause your blood pressure to increase dramatically and can also increase your risk of cancer, obesity, alcoholism, suicide and accidents. Even one drink a day can be too much, depending on your blood pressure and other health issues. Consider mixing it up with one of these refreshing non-alcoholic alternatives.
6.Now’s the time to quit. Vaping and smoking hurts your health and your BP.
Whether you’re smoking, vaping or chewing, tobacco can cause your blood pressure to temporarily increase and can contribute to damaged arteries. Secondhand smoke also increases the risk of heart disease for nonsmokers. Additionally, the CDC has identified people who smoke or vape as a group of people at higher risk of serious illness if they contract the virus. Now is the time to be a quitter. Take care of your BP and your lungs. It’s a win-win!
Get help: The Oregon Quitline is a telephone and web-based counseling service to help Oregonians quit using tobacco and nicotine products. The Quitline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)
Don’t ignore your BP during this time of the pandemic. How you live your life now can determine whether your blood pressure puts your health at risk in the future. So, wash your hands, practice safe social distancing, keep in touch with your physician if needed, and make taking care of your blood pressure a priority.