Many of us go through this life so preoccupied with the pursuit of success that we often neglect to take care of our most important asset – our bodies.

Most bodies in their twenties and thirties can handle the extra wear and tear they might be exposed to.

Common abuses:

  • Poor sleeping habits
  • Fast food
  • Energy drinks
  • Excessive caffeine
  • High sodium diet
  • Minimal exercise, if any
  • Constant stress related to relationships, work and/or education demands

When the body passes the age of forty  it doesn’t spring back so quickly.  The muscles aren’t as elastic as they used to be.  What used to take a day to recoup from, now takes a few more days.  That’s when some people start to notice they aren’t spring chickens any more 😉

The other day, on a whim, I got my blood pressure checked.  It was a real shocker for me. I have always had reasonable blood pressure, nothing to be alarmed about.  They asked if I was on any medication or under a doctor’s care and if not, I should see one right away.  I thought to myself, what are they talking about?  I have never really paid attention to blood pressure.  That was something that the older folks were concerned about.

Since, I have never had very high blood pressure, I decided to investigate what the possible cause was, and if I could do something to affect it.  It turns out that there are many contributors and reducers to blood pressure.  Unfortunately, they have a little to do with changes related to age.  As we get older we need to reduce the blood pressure contributing behavior and increase the blood pressure reducing activities.

Blood pressure contributors:

  • Excessive sodium in the diet
  • Inadequate fluids
  • Stress
  • Excessive alcohol
  • Being overweight

Blood pressure reducers:

  • Reduce sodium
  • Increase fluids, especially water
  • Increase fiber – whole grains
  • Exercise
  • Consume less alcohol
  • Lose weight
  • Relax
  • Eliminate stress
  • Laugh

NOTE: For my friends who are in job transition, you are going through some of the most stressful times in your life.  Depending on what stage of the recovery process you’re in, you have to deal with the loss of a job, loss of income, financial demands, job search, relationship stress, insomnia.  All of these can contribute to high blood pressure.

Suggestions for the over-stressed:

  • Monitor your blood pressure regularly – you don’t want this one to sneak up on you.
  • Reduce the caffeine – this may affect your sleep
  • Get more sleep  – at least 6 hours. Your body needs the time to regenerate
  • Eat healthier – you might want to cook more of your own meals, then you can control the sodium levels
  • Stay hydrated – more fluid in the blood improves blood flow
  • Exercise – at least 30 minutes each day – walk, ride bikes
  • Relax – make sure you spend some quiet time eliminating stress from your life.
  • Laugh – laughing reduces stress