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A few years ago I joined a gym…
I had two goals: My first priority was to get steady, regular exercise to help keep my blood pressure in check… and my second goal was to get my legs ready for summer.
It didn’t last…
The problem was that, even though I was getting in shape and knew exercise was an important part of my blood pressure maintenance, I was finding myself more stressed out over fitting gym time into my daily schedule.
Other things I needed to get done began to fall to the wayside, including the trips to the grocery store that got pushed back to later and later in the evening, which pushed dinner, which pushed bedtime and the cascade continued.
So, I cut my gym time to just two visits a week and started doing some aerobics at home two other days of the week, and that included several quick walks up and down the stairs to my basement.
You wouldn’t believe how quickly I began to see muscle tone in my legs… and how regular my blood pressure readings became.
I didn’t know it then, but it turns out I had inadvertently stumbled on what may actually be the best kind of exercise for a woman, like me…
Why stair climbing does the trick
A study published in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), followed Korean postmenopausal women who trained four days a week, climbing 192 steps two to five times a day.
It concluded that stair climbing led to reductions in arterial stiffness and blood pressure and increases in leg strength in stage 2 hypertensive postmenopausal women.
This is especially significant because our leg strength often falters as we age so now, we have a one-shot solution to both lower blood pressure and get strong legs to boot, especially during menopause.
But, does simple stair climbing really compete against more intense aerobic and resistance training?
The answer is yes!
You see, for postmenopausal women, identifying the right form of exercise to achieve the desired benefits, like lower blood pressure, without creating additional health problems is actually very complicated…
While more vigorous activities, like high-intensity resistance training, are an effective intervention for reducing age-related loss of muscle strength, they can actually increase blood pressure – creating more problems.
That’s not the case with stair climbing.
And, it gives you the benefits you’re looking for without ever having to pay a gym fee. If you don’t have stairs in your house, just find a location that does… like taking the stairs to the upper levels at the mall, or in good weather climbing the stairs outside of a friendly office building. Plus, stair climbing comes with some other big benefits too, like weight loss, lowered cholesterol and a reduced risk of osteoporosis.
More tips for better blood pressure
With the clear benefits of stair climbing found in the study, it’s time to make it your go-to blood pressure prescription.
Other ways to improve your blood pressure naturally include:
- Dropping excess weight – Losing just 10 pounds has been shown to help reduce your blood pressure so make a plan to drop the extra weight this year.
- Limiting alcohol – Drinking more than moderate amounts of alcohol can have a negative impact on your blood pressure. Limit your alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day.
- Relaxing – Deep breathing techniques, meditation, yoga and other practices for relaxation can help you lower your stress and blood pressure.
- Supplementing – Take supplements that naturally support healthy blood pressure, like vitamin K2 along with grape seed and green tea extracts, which help arteries open wide for blood flow.
Editor’s note: There are numerous safe and natural ways to decrease your risk of blood clots including the 25-cent vitamin, the nutrient that acts as a natural blood thinner and the powerful herb that helps clear plaque. To discover these and more, click here for Hushed Up Natural Heart Cures and Common Misconceptions of Popular Heart Treatments!
- Climb stairs to lower blood pressure and strengthen leg muscles — eurekalert.org
- 10 ways to control high blood pressure without medication — Mayo Clinic