How I plan to lower my Hypertension

getty_rm_photo_of_tea_kettle_steamingI can’t lie… While I’ve been true to my workouts, I’ve been eating like crap and it’s definitely starting to show.  

My wife and I are planning a trip to Cancun this spring, so I decided to give myself a bit of motivation.   I’ve started doing Insanity Max 30 program, I promised myself to be “shirtless” at the pool,  “abs or flab.” 

As of last week, I’ve found a completely new source of motivation.  

During my recent visit to the doctor for a routine visit, my blood pressure reading caused a bit of concern.  The reading was 144/90.  which means suggests that I have hypertension, commonly called, “high blood pressure.”  Hypertension runs in my family, but I have never had an issue with it until now.  This is something you don’t want to fool with because while there are no symptoms, it significantly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

What does the Top Number Indicate?

photolibrary_rf_photo_of_referee_blowing_whislteAccording to WEbMd, When your heart beats, it contracts and pushes blood through the arteries to the rest of the body. This force creates pressure on the arteries. This is called systolic blood pressure.

The top number is the “systolic” reading and a normal reading should be below 120.  A systolic blood pressure of 140 or higher is considered to be hypertension, or high blood pressure.  

What does the Bottom Number Indicate?

According to WebMd, The diastolic blood pressure number or the bottom number indicates the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats.

A normal diastolic blood pressure number is less than 80.  A diastolic blood pressure between 80 and 89 indicates prehypertension.  A diastolic blood pressure number of 90 or higher is considered to be hypertension or high blood pressure.

My reading of 144/90 definitely means that tI have some serious work to do.  

Do I really have Hypertension?

A number of over the counter medicines can raise your blood pressure.  I took a dose of Nyquil a couple nights before going to the doctor, and that might have been the issue.  

Another cause for a false reading is what is called “While Coat Hypertension” which is an increase in blood pressure due to the stress of being at the doctor’s office.

My doctor suggested that I take my blood pressure twice a month over the next 60 days to get an average reading and get back with him.  

Game Plan

photolibrary_rm_photo_of_woman_stretching_armThere are several ways to lower your blood pressure without the use of medication.

Lower my Salt Intake

Sodium, which is a major component of salt can raise the blood pressure by causing the body to retain fluid which leads to a greater burden on the heart.  The American Heart Association recommends 1,5000 mg 3/4 teaspoon of salt a day.  Processed foods make up the majority of sodium intake in the American Diet.  That’s actually good news for me because I mostly eat fresh foods.  One challenge for me will be that I’ll have to stop adding salt to my foods and find alternative seasonings.

Lose Weight

According to WebMd, being overweight places a strain on the heart and increases your risk of high blood pressure. That is why diets to lower blood pressure are often also designed to control calories.  Again, this is good news for me.  InsanityMax30 has an excellent nutrition plan that emphasizes cutting fatty foods and added sugars, while increasing fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and fiber.   If I lose about 10lbs, I think that will make a huge difference. 


I rarely drink (maybe once or twice a month), and when I do, it’s usually less then a couple beers which is well within the guidelines.  I’ve decided to avoid all drinks until Cancun so I’m good here as well. 


150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week helps to lower blood pressure.  Any Beachbody fitness program will easily address the weekly minimums.

Avoid Creatine Supplements

Sigh..  This one is going to hurt.  Creatine has been a great way for me to increase muscle size and strength, but because it causes the body to store more water, it can increase my blood pressure.  I have not been taking this lately, so its not a big deal, but if I ever want to increase in size again, I’ll need to think of some alternative solutions.  

I’ll check in again to let you know if I was successful.  Wish me luck!

In This Together,

Coach Eric Hollingsworth
P90X, PiYo Certified Fitness Coach

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