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This May it’s May Measure Month, where the International Society of Hypertension is encouraging everyone to get their blood pressure checked. High blood pressure (hypertension) rarely has noticeable symptoms, and if it’s left untreated it can cause some serious health problems, such as heart attacks, heart disease, and stroke. In fact, raised blood pressure is the leading contributing factor to death globally. Even more alarming is that 1 in 4 UK adults are living with high blood pressure, and over half of those people may not realise it.
The only way to know your blood pressure is to get it checked. In the meantime, here are 5 easy tips to help keep your blood pressure in check at work!
1) Get Some Steps In
Unless your job keeps you active throughout the day, chances are you may be sitting at a desk in front of a computer for most of the day. A lack of exercise can contribute greatly to poor heart health, including raising blood pressure. An easy way to combat this in the workplace, is to set yourself a goal to stand up and walk around each hour.
Head down to the cafeteria, walk to the toilet, or just head to the water machine to grab a drink – there are plenty of excuses to get up and about. Better yet, if you can go on a short stroll during your lunch break the steps will keep stacking up, and it can even help improve your mental health!
2) Cut Down On The Caffeine
We didn’t want to start with this one, we thought we’d ease you into gently. Yes, the caffeine found in coffee and energy drinks – the ones that wake you up at 9am – can increase your blood pressure. Whilst the occasional cup isn’t too bad, it’s important to ensure that tea, coffee and energy drinks aren’t your only fluid intake throughout the day.
A great solution is to have a bottle of water on your desk. Sip at it throughout the day and you’ll find your thirst is quenched, and you’ll be less likely to indulge in that mid-afternoon coffee – and won’t suffer from the resulting caffeine crash that follows!
3) Cut Out The Unhealthy Snacks
Speaking of crashes… We all know that feeling when it hits 3pm – your lunch is a distant memory, and your favourite unhealthy snack is calling. Well, you know what they say, “A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the arterial walls.” Or something like that.
Importantly, though, one of the easiest ways to reduce your blood pressure is to limit your salt intake, and eat a healthy and balanced diet. That doesn’t mean forgoing snacks forever, but cutting down where you can – especially at your desk – and making sure you’re eating plenty of fruit and vegetables can make a huge difference.
4) Get A Good Night’s Sleep
Staying up until 1am on a Netflix binge is something we’ve all been guilty of at one time or another. But when it means waking up with less the 6 hours sleep, was that extra episode of Stranger Things really worth it?
No, according to the NHS. There are many risks associated with losing sleep, including an increase in blood pressure. So, turn off your TV, put your phone away and – most importantly – don’t take work to bed with you! Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep to wake up feeling fresh and productive the following day.
5) Monitor Your Blood Pressure Regularly
You can’t change something you don’t know about. Almost half of all adults with high blood pressure don’t know they have it, and aren’t receiving treatment as a result. The NHS recommends that all healthy adults over the age of 40 get checked at least once every 5 years. Doctors and pharmacies offer blood pressure testing services, and you can also buy kits to do it yourself at home.
Here at New Leaf Health, we also offer a workplace-based Health Check Point service. Delivered on-site, the checks not only check staff members’ blood pressure, but also their BMI, body fat percentages, muscle mass percentage, metabolic age and hydration levels. All of this is summed up in a review session, where staff are given advice on their results, as well as lifestyle guidance to help make healthy changes in their lives.
If you’re interested in a health check service for your workplace, click here to enquire.