The week 4 – 10 September 2023 is Blood Pressure UK’s ‘Know Your Numbers Week’ and that means we’re thinking about blood pressure…

You could have high blood pressure and not know it – when was the last time you got it checked? Did you know that the NHS offers free health checks for people aged 40 – 74? Included is a cholesterol and blood pressure check aimed at reducing the risk and impact of heart disease, kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and dementia.

Make the time, ease your pressure…

This is the theme of Know Your Numbers Week, and it’s never been easier to check your blood pressure yourself. You don’t HAVE to go to the Doctor, or the NHS health check to do it, in fact you can get a machine online and monitor your blood pressure at home

If you don’t want to do that, you can ask your local pharmacy if they can do it for you.

‘With the everyday pressures of life, we know that understanding why it’s important to know your blood pressure numbers and taking the time to get them measured isn’t always a priority. However, did you know that getting a blood pressure check is the first step to preventing heart attacks and stroke? High blood pressure is a major cause of these diseases but usually has no symptoms until it’s too late, which is why it’s known as ‘the silent killer’. Knowing your numbers means you can start making healthy lifestyle changes or start taking medicines if you need them to bring your blood pressure down to a healthy level. So it’s essential to make the time to check your blood pressure to see if it’s under control.’ Blood Pressure UK

Make time for yoga

You might guess that yoga is good for lowering blood pressure, as when you practise yoga, you work with your breath and conduct slow, flowing movements with the body. This, however is not the only reason yoga, and in fact Pilates are both so good at reducing your blood pressure… It’s less about your mental state and more about the physical state…

‘A recent study tested the use of yoga three times a week for people being treated for high blood pressure. The results showed those who practiced yoga experienced a significant reduction in their blood pressure compared to those who did not. Another study found the effect of yoga on high blood pressure is even more significant when breathwork and meditation are part of the practice.

A 2020 study examined the impact of a one-hour yoga class on the flexibility of the arteries. The more flexible your blood vessels, the less pressure required for blood flow and the lower your risk of hypertension. Researchers found people had more flexible arteries after practicing yoga. Yoga Journal

Some poses aren’t great for high blood pressure though, so if you know if you’re on the high side, speak to your yoga instructor, and avoid holding inverted poses for too long.

During Know Your Numbers Week, I will have a BP monitor with me, for anyone who wants to check theirs before the class begins.