Over 100 million Americans have high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association. To put that into perspective, this is almost half of all of the adults in the US. High blood pressure was a contributing factor in the deaths of over 360,000 Americans in 2013. Worldwide, high blood pressure is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease-related deaths.
Those are scary statistics if you are an American adult. Heart disease has increased over the last few decades, and a large factor in this is our working lives. You should therefore focus on this area if you want to reduce high blood pressure. Luckily, there are several ways of fighting high blood pressure in the workplace.
Use every opportunity to be active
A huge factor in the increase in blood pressure of the US workforce is the more sedentary manner of work that we are doing. In the past, when more people did manual labor jobs in factories or in farming, exercise was a part of work. Now, we spend eight hours in front of a screen, sitting in a chair, not really moving. This means that you have to stay active in other ways.
If you take the bus to work, then try getting off a stop earlier and walking at a brisk pace to really get your heart rate going before and after work. Choose the stairs instead of the elevator and climb your way to a lower blood pressure. On your lunch break, go for a run or do some star jumps in the office. You don’t have to miss out on lunch – even a 15-minute burst of exercise will be beneficial in the long term. Throughout the day, get up for short walks around the office to stretch your legs, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
Another leading cause of high blood pressure is poor diet. A diet that is high in salt and low in fruit and vegetables will have a poor effect on your blood pressure. Eating lots of sugar will increase your weight, which will also negatively impact your blood pressure. Making and bringing in your own healthy lunch is the key here – brown bread, salad, lentils, pasta and brown rice are all great staples of healthy lunches that don’t leave you feeling hungry for more.
Stay away from the vending machine snacks, and bring your own healthy snacks. Fresh and dried fruit and nuts are a great way of getting energy without relying on sugar or lots of carbs. Baked or vegetable chips are good alternatives to a bag of salty and fatty normal potato chips. Finally, resist that colleague who brings in baked goodies every Friday – nothing good will come of that brownie.
Stress is another factor that affects your health. High stress will increase your blood pressure in the short term, and sustained stress will affect your body in ways that will increase your blood pressure in the long term. One way to reduce stress at work is to make sure that you take a bit of personal time every so often. Step away from the computer and out of the office to recharge and forget about work for a bit. Buy a stress-relief toy and go to town on it whenever you feel a bit stressed. Yoga or meditation during the day can also have a significant impact on your mental wellbeing.
Go to a juice bar on your socials
Alcohol is another leading factor in blood pressure. However, at some workplaces, going out for lunch drinks or after-work drinks is a huge part of the culture. You could just go along to the bar and order soda, but being in that environment is going to make it less fun and more tempting for you to order a beer or cocktail. Instead, you could suggest that everyone tries out that new juice bar down the block. In a juice bar environment, there won’t be pressure to drink alcohol because you can’t drink it. Besides, no one ever gets any work done after a lunchtime beer.
If you are worried about your blood pressure, then you can get a direct to consumer and professional blood test to take a look at your blood. These tests can reveal a lot about your blood, including other issues related to blood pressure.
Think about your diet, how active you are and what causes you stress at work – is there anything obvious that you can change? Sometimes, it’s easier said than done, but even making one of these changes can make a really positive impact on your blood pressure and your life.