Though we’re still enjoying those warm summer days, fall is right around the corner. With the shift in weather, and autumn’s cooler temps, the risks for people with cardiovascular disease increase. In some cases, blood pressure may rise, while in others it plummets. It's a good time to measure your blood pressure to see where you stand. It’s also a good time to evaluate your overall fitness.
It’s been over half a year since many of us made our new year’s resolutions. Have you been staying consistent with physical activity and diet? Every season comes with its indulgences, and just like winter and comfort foods, summer is synonymous with sipping on frozen cocktails and scarfing down burgers and hot dogs fresh off the grill. So now with the change in season upon us, why not take stock of your health and fitness goals and keep the summer visions alive of a cleaner, leaner, active and healthy you!
How is your blood pressure? Have you been exercising regularly? Are you cutting back on salty, fat-laden party foods and boozy drinks after all those summer barbecues? How about your waistline? These are all good things to analyze, along with drinking enough water, proper rest, not overdoing it with the caffeine, etc...
But! Slow and steady wins the race, and studies have shown that a healthy lifestyle is easier to maintain if you start off small, making a few simple tweaks and eliminating a couple "unhealthy" items at a time. Going to bed a half hour earlier and drinking an extra 16 oz. of water are some tips that come to mind.
And blood pressure -- it's something that affects more and more of us in the US and should be monitored at least annually in healthy people and at home, daily, for those with hypertension/high blood pressure (HBP). It's not just something to pay attention to as you get into your more senior years either. Men under age 35, as well as African Americans, diabetics, and pregnant women are particularly at risk and should stay on top of their measurements frequently.
HBP has been labeled a "silent killer" as symptoms often go unnoticed until a larger problem develops, such as heart disease. Diet, exercise, stress, smoking, age and heredity are all factors that contribute to HBP but with the right habits, and proper monitoring, it's something you can prevent or lower, depending on your condition.
So, take advantage of this time and make some healthy changes to your day to day. Or, if you've been staying on track, congratulate yourself for keeping on top of your fitness goals! If you're doing good things for your body, you will feel good physically and mentally. It's as simple as that. Take care of yourself, you're important.