Disclosure: This post is sponsored by OMRON. All opinions are my own.
The past year has been stressful, to say the least.
I’ve felt the stress and I know how debilitating it can be to your mental and physical health.
In fact, stress is one of the contributing factors to high blood pressure or hypertension.
I deal with high blood pressure and I’ve had to work even harder to keep it under control due to the added stress of a global pandemic.
Sadly, many Americans also suffer from hypertension and most of them don’t even know it.
According to the American Heart Association, nearly half of the adults in the United States (approximately 116 million) now have high blood pressure, a condition that increases our chances of developing a life-threatening disease that could lead to a heart attack or
High blood pressure is called the silent killer because people rarely experience any symptoms until it’s too late.
What Is High Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries that carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body.
Although blood pressure rises and falls throughout the day, it is best to maintain a regular blood pressure of 130/80 or less. Anything higher than that is considered to be high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is more common in men than women. It is also more common in non-Hispanic blacks than non-Hispanic whites or Hispanics.
As a black man, these stats are quite concerning.
My Hypertension Story
For the past few years, I have worked with OMRON Healthcare to educate people about hypertension and heart health.
It is no understatement for me to say OMRON saved my life.
During my first 90-Day challenge, I started measuring my blood pressure and noticed it was high -145/90. I immediately scheduled a doctor’s appointment. He diagnosed me with hypertension and prescribed medicine to control it. I also made some lifestyle changes to improve my health.
Had I not started monitoring my numbers, I could have died from a stroke I suffered in 2018.
Now I’m a huge advocate for cardiovascular and heart health, especially for black men.
90 Day Blood Pressure Challenge
I support OMRON Healthcare’s mission of Going for Zero heart attacks and strokes. That is why I’m participating in a new 90-Challenge and I want you to join me.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Heart attacks and strokes are impacting nearly every one of us. These are preventable conditions and we can all take steps to reduce the likelihood of these events striking us or our loved ones.
Every one of us can play a valuable role in the Going for Zero mission by starting conversations and sharing important information about heart health.
During the next 90 days, I plan to do the following things to help manage my blood pressure:
Measure Blood Pressure Regularly
I will measure my blood pressure daily with my OMRON HeartGuide Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor.
This frequency works for me because I’m a data junky. It is important for me to know how my blood pressure fluctuates from day to day.
This information helps me to understand how different behaviors, circumstances, and habits affect my numbers.
But you don’t have to measure your blood pressure every day. Once a week is sufficient, but you must be dedicated to the practice.
Follow these four easy steps to make blood pressure monitoring part of your lifestyle:
- Find a blood pressure monitor that works for you – OMRON is a global leader in the category of heart health and wellness. They offer a wide selection of blood pressure monitors. Set a regular time – Decide which day and time works best for you. Some people like to monitor their blood pressure in the morning. Others like to do it before bedtime. There is no right or wrong time. The key is consistency.
- Pick a place – Find a comfortable spot where you can sit and measure your blood pressure without interruption.
- Document your progress – Keep track of your numbers with OMRON’s digital app, Connect. This information will help you make informed decisions about your health and it will also be useful during your regularly scheduled doctor visits.
Exercise to Improve Fitness
Before the pandemic, I went to the gym 2-3 times per week. I must admit that I slacked off my exercise routine during the pandemic since I couldn’t go to the gym.
Now that things are open again, I plan to start slowly by going to the gym once a week.
But you don’t have to have a gym membership to exercise.
You can take a long walk, participate in online exercise classes, or even play basketball in the driveway with your kids.
I like to roller skate and ride my bike. These activities remind me of my childhood and bring me joy. It’s especially fun when my kids join me on their skateboards and scooters.
My two daughters are vegetarian and they both encourage me to eat a plant-based diet.
Although I’m not quite ready to go full vegetarian yet, I will practice Meatless Monday.
Each Monday, I will prepare a plant-based dinner for me and my family. I bought a vegetarian cookbook and I’m learning to make delicious meals without meat.
You can also change your diet by reducing or eliminating red meat, adding more fruits and vegetables, reducing sodium intake, and avoiding fried foods.
Take Mental Health Break Once a Week to Reduce Stress
At times, I can be a workaholic. However, I’ve learned the value of unplugging and destressing.
I will make a habit of taking weekly mental breaks to destress. During these days, I will step away from the computer and put aside my cell phone.
I plan to read, write, draw, indulge in photography, play my guitar and new keyboard, and spend time being fully present with my family and friends.
This is probably the habit that will be the hardest for me to achieve, but I plan to make it a regular part of my lifestyle.
Practicing self-care is important.
I’ll keep you posted on my progress over the next 90 days and I’d love to know how you plan to join the challenge to lower your blood pressure.