I’m walkin’ on sunshine…

11 Apr

Seriously! I just checked my BP (3 consecutive readings) and the result?

138/101 — ROCKIN' ! 
That's the lowest my systolic number (top number) has been without meds. I've been hovering around 150/100 with the occasionally lower day, but this is awesome! Just gotta keep working on that bottom number. The lowest that has been since I ditched the animal products is 96.
Why this sudden turn of events? I think it's because I've been walking. I walked 30 minutes every day this week except Friday. Last night I walked to the Foodtown in Temperance, bought some cleaning supplies, and walked back home. 
I've been focusing on the diet side of this so much that I haven't given exercise much thought. I've read a zillion times that exercise can help lower your BP and I enjoy walking, especially when my kids come along on their bikes. I just can't seem to make the time to do it regularly. But, this week I made it a priority. I don't know why it became more important this week than any other — maybe it's because of the nice weather. It will be a priority now!
The statistics on exactly how much you can lower your blood pressure with exercise vary from one source to another, but it appears to be anywhere from 5 to 25 mmHg for either the systolic or diastolic number. That's better than some of the BP drugs on the market!
How does exercise help regulate blood pressure? Regular exercise makes your heart stronger, which allows it to pump more blood with less effort. When your heart works less, the pressure on your arteries decreases and blood pressure goes down. Makes sense.
Here's what the American College of Sports Medicine says on the subject: "Exercise generally decreases both the systolic and diastolic value by about 10 points. It doesn't take years of exercise to lower your blood pressure — it may even happen as early as three to four weeks after increasing your physical activity levels."
I found this statement on the Blue Cross Blue Shield website: "Researchers have spent decades developing new treatments for high blood pressure, but exercise is still one of the best remedies around. A single workout can reduce blood pressure for an entire day, and regular exercise can keep the pressure down for the long run."
I'm so excited that I truly am walkin' on sunshine. I want so desperately to get my BP under control without drugs. I feel like I'm finally on the right track.
On a final note, I recently read an interview with Dr. Dean Ornish, M.D. I want to share this comment he made: "It is not entirely clear why animal protein, particularly red meat, raises blood pressure. But we know that it does." 
I'm not saying everyone should be vegan. I'm saying just cut back on the meat and see how much better you feel. And step out into the sunshine for a walk once in a while!

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3 Responses to “I’m walkin’ on sunshine…”

  1. Michelle Ridler April 13, 2010 at 12:07 am #

    Yeah!

  2. ErinGoBragh April 13, 2010 at 7:39 pm #

    Oh, wow! That's great news! You did it, and you're such an excellent example of how we can effectively manage our health without completely relying on drugs!

  3. Tamie Spears April 13, 2010 at 8:35 pm #

    Well, I still have a long way to go, but I'm feeling pretty good right now!

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