Conditions such as Blood Pressure (hypertension) and diabetes are on the rise these days. That’s because the food everyone eats nowadays is loaded with salts and sugars, the main culprits behind the two conditions. Apart from those who develop Blood Pressure due to poor diet choices, there are other factors as well.
People with a family history have much more risk of developing hypertension than others. However, there are many studies out there that have shown that keeping fit can significantly reduce that risk. Studies have shown that you don’t even need to work out for a long period of time in order to keep your blood pressure levels in check. Just 150 minutes of brisk walking per week can keep you on track.
One study published in the journal Hypertension followed 6300 fit people ranging from age 20 to 80 for almost five years. The people were selected in a way that one third had a parent with high blood pressure. It was found that these people, despite having a family history for blood pressure had a much lesser risk of developing hypertension. In fact, the risk was reduced by 34% compared to those people who weren’t physically fit but had a family history.
The study concluded that high levels of fitness can reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure by 42% regardless of their family history. Even moderately fit people had a 26% reduced risk. What about the people who aren’t fit? The risk of developing hypertension in unfit people was a whopping 70% according to the study. It goes to show how powerful staying fit can be for your overall health.
Those who had a family history of blood pressure but were committed to a fitness lifestyle only had a 16% risk of developing the condition. In comparison, unfit people are 4 times more likely to develop hypertension and that’s scary. The author of the study, Robin Shook, a doctoral candidate in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in Columbia says:
“The correlation between fitness levels, parental history and risk are impossible to ignore,”.
“This awareness can serve the clinician and the patient as they work together to find effective and reasonable ways to avoid the diseases that have affected their family members, in some cases for generations.”
One thing to note is that the study was done on well-educated white males. In order to get a more representative result, it would’ve been better to include a more diverse sample. We don’t know how other factors such as education, race, ethnicity, or financial circumstances may affect blood pressure so the findings of the study may not apply to everyone.
However, when it comes to health the same rules apply to almost everyone in general. Despite having a rather biased sample, we can still take away a lot of things from the study. It’s not just this study either, there is plenty of literature out there that advocates fitness and a balanced diet.
The one main takeaway from this is that if you’re someone who has a sedentary lifestyle, then you need to make some effort to change that. A sedentary lifestyle is not just dangerous for developing hypertension, but other dangers such as obesity, heart disease and much more are associated with this lifestyle. Moreover, diet matters a lot. Adopting an active lifestyle with a better diet will go a long way in reducing risks for all types of diseases.
Therefore, one should try to make changes so that they can live a long and healthy life. It doesn’t need to be a drastic change either. As mentioned above, moderate activity is enough. You don’t need to be spending hours in the gym every day. Just spend a few minutes every day, even 20-30 mins a day will provide significant benefits.
There are many short workouts that you can do, even at home. Choose a plan to your liking and stick to it. You don’t have to give up your favorite foods either. It’s all about switching to healthier alternatives. For example, ditch regular pasta for whole-wheat pasta. Making a few tiny changes will go a long way in ensuring a healthy life in the future.