Last night's workout: 30 minutes elliptical + 3 mile run on the treadmill. I HATE RUNNING ON THE TREADMILL... But, there was a lady next to me who just joined the gym. We had a great conversation and I was able to talk to her about the benefits of exercise and I gave her some pointers. Thankfully, this made the time go by fast.... again, treadmills = torture.
That conversation got me thinking more about blood pressure (and because I have to go into work early this week to run health screenings on employees). I have written about blood pressure before, but I feel like we over look its importance SOOOOO MUCH. Without treatment, your high blood pressure can damage organs in your body, little by little, without you feeling symptomatic.
Aerobic exercise (walking, swimming, cycling, running.....) increases the strength of your heart, making each beat more efficient (so your heart can push more blood out with each beat, which sends MORE oxygen, QUICKER, to your body). This will decrease your heart rate (pulse) and your overall blood pressure.
(my pulse was RACING right before I walked down the aisle... Of course, my heart rate monitor would have been tacky, but I HAD TO CHECK it =)
When you check your blood pressure, make sure you have been resting for at least 15 minutes prior. The best time to check is first thing in the morning and BEFORE caffeine.
Decrease your sodium intake as well. Sodium holds on to unnecessary water in your body. This increases the VOLUME in circulation. THAT makes your heart work harder. Not only sodium, but PRESERVATIVES in your food will also increase your blood pressure; try to eat as CLOSE to "natural" as possible. Rinse your canned beans and veggies before you cook them. Try not to use the salt shaker at dinner. Avoid sodas and OBVIOUSLY..... avoid fast food =)
For more info on the heart and hear disease, see this site.