If you imagine the circulatory system as a pump working away to move the blood around your body, then you know it needs to be reliable and work for you day-in, day-out. But sometimes you need to pause and ask yourself – how healthy is this pump? Is it always going to work? What can I do to make sure it works better?
All of this relates to how good your blood pressure is. You need to keep your heart primed and in good enough condition to reliably move the blood through your system. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a great quantitative indicator of how healthy your heart actually is. Composed of your systolic and diastolic readings (maximum and minimum), high blood pressure is the most common sign that you are in poor cardiovascular health and need to make a change. Failure to do so could result in a stroke, kidney failure, or worse.
The most obvious change is starting to exercise. The number one thing you want to remember is to build your way into exercise at a gradual rate. You don’t want to strain your heart right away. Plus, habits are best built slowly. The general rule to go by is to err on the side of lengthier exercise. Only increase your intensity much farther down the line when you know you are capable of pushing yourself.
If you need a place to start, here are 10 exercises you can do that will make sure your heart is strong and bring down your blood pressure.
1 – Walk.
People forget that this is exercise, but they also forget to do enough of this. Blood is moving around the body, and you can still socialize or even work while you’re doing it.
2 – Take the Stairs
This will be the perfect amount of strain for someone who is short on time but wants to get healthier, and it acts as a gateway to more strenuous work.
3 – Stand
A standing desk will change your mood and energy, along with the proven effects it can have on your health.
Stretch. This isn’t “hard” exercise but it puts your body in strange positions and is a good introduction to physical exercise without straining yourself.
4 – Skip Rope
This can be done at home and at your own pace.
5 – Do Yoga
This is approaching intensity, but you also get to choose the pace while trying something new.
6 – Bicycle Riding
If you’d like to see more of your city or go out in the countryside, a bike ride will do scratch two itches at once.
7 – Go Swimming
It’s easy to forget that taking a casual dip works your heart, but this can be one of the most enjoyable ways to get your exercise done.
8 – Play Tennis
You can be just as social as when you play squash, but without the intense bursts that are bound to strain you.
Dancing: Another social pursuit, the act of jumping around and enjoying the music can be a great way to bond with your significant other.
The important thing to remember is that any exercise is better than no exercise, so don’t stress about what you choose, as long as you can stick to it. First build habits that feel casual like going for walks or using a standing desk, and then feel free to add a new activity every few weeks as you see your blood pressure beginning to progress back to a normal rate. When you actually do decide to try full-out exercise, remember that there’s no shame in starting at ten minutes a day and building up from there. Not that you want to start with either, but it’s a marathon, not a sprint.