How to lower your blood pressure

How to lower your blood pressure

Lose weight, reduce your sodium intake, and exercise to lower your blood pressure.

Each of the changes below can not only lower your blood pressure but can also increase the effectiveness of high blood pressure medication.

1. Lose weight and inches

Lose weight
For every 20 lbs of weight you lose, your systolic blood pressure can drop 5-20 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).

Lose inches
Reduce your waist circumference to:

  • Men: under 40 inches (102 centimeters)
  • Women: under 35 inches (88 centimeters)

2. Reduce your sodium intake

Reduce your sodium intake to lower your systolic blood pressure by 2-8 mm Hg.

3. Follow a healthy eating plan

Choose to eat whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and low fat dairy products. This can reduce your systolic blood pressure by 8-14 mm Hg.

4. Exercise regularly

Exercise for at least 30 minute a day, most days of the week.
This can reduce your systolic blood pressure by 4-9 mm Hg.

5. Limit alcohol and avoid tobacco

Limit Alcohol
Limit your alcohol consumption to no more than:

  • Two drinks a day for men
  • One drink a day for women

Avoid tobacco
Nicotine can raise your blood pressure for up to an hour after you smoke and the chemicals in tobacco can damage your arteries. This in turn can raise your blood pressure.

Nieman, David C. You Asked for It: Question Authority. Achieving Normal Blood Pressure without using drugs. ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal. 8(5):3-4, September/October 2004.
Centers for Disease Control
American Heart Association

Stephanie's Certifications and Experience
About the Author
Stephanie Averkamp

About the Author was created by Stephanie Averkamp, a recognized health and fitness professional and sole-author of the content on this website. Stephanie's approach to weight loss emphasizes making small, realistic, and permanent lifestyle changes. Read more...

Stephanie Averkamp

Our Approach: Short-term solutions (like dieting) are unrealistic and ineffective because at some point they end. As soon as a diet or program ends, so do the results. Permanent weight loss is a journey; it's not a race or competition and there is no finish line. Read more...