Have you noticed high blood pressure while walking? Though an increase in blood pressure is normal during physical activity when compared to watching TV in your favorite chair, the increase can also be too much.
“Blood pressure can increase while exercising, which is a normal response of the body in order to push more blood and oxygen through the vessels,” says Stacy Mitchell Doyle, MD, resident physician of FoodTherapyMD and long-time advocate of plant-based nutritional protocols.
Dr. Doyle explains, “But some people have an exaggerated blood pressure response (like a systolic pressure of 200 or more), and this is an early clue of deeper problems, specifically, the blood vessels are more stiff and are not relaxing appropriately.
“Even if your blood pressure comes down after your activity, you’re not in the clear.
“Stiff blood vessels is an early sign of heart disease and endothelial dysfunction (which is the sensitive lining of the heart arteries).”
Solutions to High Blood Pressure
When Walking and During Other Activities
“So what should you do? More unprocessed vegetables and fruits, and less animal products (meat, eggs, dairy), processed sugar and junk or fast food,” advises Dr. Doyle.
“Plants have substances called phytonutrients that improve the function of the endothelium, as well as lower blood pressure.
“Especially vegetables that have high nitric oxide levels. These are foods like beets, arugula, kale, celery and spinach.
“You can even try a simple juice recipe before exercising every day: 8 ounces fresh beet juice (about 1 large beet), 4 celery stalks, 1 small apple.”
Fat Loss for Lowering Blood Pressure
Fat loss alone may not lower your blood pressure. People have lost weight by eating LESS, but the component ratios of their diet remain unchanged.
So instead of three brownies for desert, they have one. Instead of two microwavable dinners-in-a-box at one sitting, they have one.
By cutting portions but not changing the composition of their diet, they will still lose weight via the simple concept of “calories in vs. calories out.”
And it’s always great to lose excess body fat. But for some people, more than weight loss is needed to knock down resting and walking blood pressure into the desirable range.
Ditch processed fruits and vegetables (e.g., canned, in frozen dinners) for fresh produce such as a freshly prepared cucumber salad.
Mandate two servings of fruit with every breakfast (e.g., berries, banana, cantaloupe, peach).
Have a green salad every day no matter what.
Give up frozen dinners. Prepare dinners from whole food sources.
Replace soda and milk with water and stevia-sweetened homemade lemonade.
Sweets, processed foods and animal products should be 10 percent or less of your daily diet, recommends Dr. Doyle.
Walking MORE or more intensely may or may not lower blood pressure. But keep on walking because walking is what the body was designed to do. Avoid the “sitting disease.”
Strength training may lower blood pressure, but if it doesn’t, then again…take a good hard look at your eating habits and make the needed changes.