Nordic Walking to combat High Blood Pressure

Mary Tweed
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I have written about high blood pressure before, but it is worth blogging about again, as 7 million people in the UK are living with undiagnosed high blood pressure (or hypertension) and it is the subject of OneLife Suffolk’s September awareness campaign. Taking up a fun form of exercise - and guess which one I think is best to combat hypertension! - is one of the most enjoyable and easiest ways in which you can reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure, or, if you already suffer, of lowering your readings.


High blood pressure rarely presents any symptoms, so the only way to find out is to have regular check ups. All adults over 40 are advised to have their blood pressure checked at least every 5 years.

What Causes High Blood Pressure?

  • Being overweight - the risk increases with each pound of weight that you gain
  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much alcohol and caffeine
  • Genetics
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Age
  • Stress
  • Eating too much salt

Effects of High Blood Pressure

By far the most serious effect of hypertension is the increased risk of suffering from a stroke or heart disease, both of which can prove fatal. However, other consequences are: - Memory Loss - Blurred Vision - Libido Issues - Brittle Bones

How Do I Reduce my Blood Pressure Reading and the link to Nordic Walking?

As well as improving the diet by increasing your consumption of fruit, veg and potassium rich foods and cutting down on alchol, there are many measures which can be taken, which lead directly to Nordic Walking....... (forgive the bias!)

Exercise - Lowers resistance to blood flow and therefore the heart can pump with less force. Solution :Nordic Walking

Lose weight - a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week helps adults to maintain a healthy weight. Nordic Walking is classed as a moderate form of exercise, as it gets the heart pumping, but you can still chat.

Manage stress - exercising outdoors is proven to help calm the mind and reduce stress. Solution: Nordic Walking

Quit smoking - This can be a tough one; do you need a distraction and something to do with your hands….? Take up Nordic walking!

Hand grip exercises - Studies have shown that squeezing a rubber ball for 15 minutes 3 times a week has been shown to reduce blood pressure by 10%. Then again, you could just focus more on the grip & release technique of Nordic Walking

Get a pet - Pet owners have been shown to have lower systolic blood pressure that the petless, even when they two groups have similar BMIs. Get a dog and try Nordic dog walking!

Get outside - Our skin contains stores of nitric oxide, which are released into the blood when exposed to UVA rays in sunlight. Nitric oxide helps cut blood pressure. Grab your poles and go for a walk in the daylight.

Eat Beetroot (and parsley, celery, celeriac, rocket) - Beetroot contains high levels of nitrate which is converted to nitric oxide when eaten. Nitric oxide improves blood flow. _Go Nordic Walking and pack a beetroot salad for your picnic!! _

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