A heart can tell a lot about a human. One of the ways doctors, scientists and trainers learn about your heart is by measuring your blood pressure. It’s a measure of how hard your heart has to pump to deliver blood throughout your body.

Why is that important? Well, to start with, without blood pressure, your body wouldn’t get the oxygen it needs to survive. It rises each time your heart beats and it falls between beats. And there’s always some pressure because your blood simply needs to keep flowing.

However, we all know that being ‘alive’ does not equal ‘feeling your best’. That’s why the measurement of blood pressure is key in identifying the state of your human biomarkers. The optimal (healthy) range of blood pressure is 120/80 - 129/80

Now, if you find yourself outside of the green zone, your alarms should be going off.

What causes high blood pressure?

I like to separate the causes into two categories: natural causes such as age, sex, ethnicity, and lifestyle habits such as diet, exercise and environment.

While the first category is not exactly one we can do much about, the second one plays a huge role in how high your blood pressure can get. Some of the things that play a big contribution:

  • Smoking and heavy alcohol usage
  • A poor diet filled with high amounts of sugar, sodium, carbohydrates and trans fats
  • High levels of daily stress and anxiety that is accumulative and unmanaged
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Polluted environment

How it affects your health and life?

High blood pressure is the NUMBER ONE risk factor for stroke and a major risk factor for heart disease. In Canada, about 6% of deaths are due to stroke – and 20% are cardiovascular-related deaths.

Humans don’t tend to do well with grasping the importance of things that have never happened to them before and therefore, we are less likely to worry about the chance of strokes and death. While that’s a worst-case scenario of high blood pressure, the ‘best-case’ does not look that much prettier.

High blood pressure causes headaches, dizziness, nosebleeds, nausea, and vision problems. You end up constantly feeling out of breath and tired. It even prevents you from participating in and enjoying activities that require a low physical activity.

What can you do to control healthy levels of blood pressure?

Take control of your lifestyle. Focus your nutrition by incorporating more nutrient-dense, plant-based and healthy fat foods, and lowering or completely cutting alcohol, trans fats, fried foods, sugar and sodium intake.

Proper stress management is another key to success. When you’re chronically stressed, your body is in a constant fight-or-flight mode. On a physical level, that means a faster heart rate and constricted blood vessels aka high blood pressure. Things like meditation, spending time in nature, reading and listening to music are some of the best ways to de-stress. We all know well that once we experience stress, we are more likely to engage in destructive behaviours, like alcohol and drug consumption, emotional eating and avoidance of things that make us happy.

Increase your physical activity on a daily basis. Modern humans spend time in a sitting position 15 hours a day, on average, and sleeping an average of 8 hours resulting in a sedentary lifestyle of around 23 hours a day! Go out for daily walks, invest in a standing desk in you can and start regularly exercising.

When you train your body regularly, it helps expand stress hormones and our bodies start to mobilize them more efficiently. Regular exercise helps make your heart stronger and more efficient at pumping blood, which lowers the pressure in your arteries. Not to mention the mental health benefits with all of the dopamine generated from working out.

We want to make sure that you continuously progress in your workouts and maximize each second you spend on training. Our EPIC Personal Trainers will work with you to create the most robust programming that can elevate your performance, prevent injury, and promote longevity and healthspan. Request your consultation below if you’re ready to learn more.