When someone is diagnosed with high blood pressure this means the force of the blood on the veins is too high, specifically above 120/80 mmHg.
Several factors that contribute to high blood pressure include: smoking, obesity, chronic stress, being sedentary, excessive sodium intake, excessive alcohol intake, excessive caffeine intake, certain nutritional deficiencies like magnesium, family history and even genetics. Elevated blood pressure can result in a heart attack, stroke, heart disease, and many other conditions.
In addition to changes in critical changes in diet and exercise as well as key supplements or prescribed medication for hypertension several studies shows that slow deep breathing even 5 minutes a day can lower your blood pressure naturally.
Our nervous system operates in two main modes, sympathetic nervous system of “fight or flight” and the parasympathetic nervous system of “rest, digest and repair.” For disease prevention and good health in body and mind the human body should spend 80% in parasympathetic mode and 20% in sympathetic mode on any given day, however, often times it is the other way around!
When the sympathetic nervous system is activated, the heart rate is increased and blood vessels contract. Digestion is decreased and stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline are released causing inflammation and elevated blood pressure.
The activation of this system is useful when there is a real, physical threat, however, due to ongoing stressors in our daily lives, this system is activated too often. The chronic activation of this system can cause serious health problems.
On the other hand the parasympathetic nervous system activates your ability to relax and heal, routing vital blood flow to your organs of digestion and detoxification, supporting your heart, normalizing breathing and calming anxiety.
A balanced nervous system is key to blood pressure health and heart health, it also supports healthy brain function, mood and emotional stability and enhances our physical health, including supporting healthy digestion, detoxification and immune function, it reduces pain and clears inflammation and anxiety.
Slow, deep breathing activates the parasympathetic mode, decreasing heart rate and dilating blood vessels and reducing your overall blood pressure, immediately putting you in that relax and repair state. When your heart rate decreases and blood vessels dilate, this allows blood to reach the extremities.
Instantaneously and over time slow breathing for even five minutes a day can improve your overall blood pressure and heart health.
30 SECOND BREATHING EXERCISE
You can potentially reduce your blood pressure greatly by taking six deep breaths within a 30 second period.
- Find a comfortable position. Close your eyes and relax.
- Close your eyes and relax.
- Take 6 deep breaths. Exhale through your mouth with air or an audible sound or exhale through your nose.
Whether you schedule your five minutes a day of slow breathing or you take several breaks during the day whenever you need to get out of “fight or flight” and back into “rest and repair” being still and slow breathing can not only rewrite a bad day at any moment in the day, it’s proven to be one of the greatest preventative measures we have in supporting our heart and blood pressure. Slow breathing is also good for our brain and mood and the rest of our entire body. It’s our greatest self care tool and it’s free!