Sometimes it feels like craziness is ensuing everywhere.
Just last week I told you about the ugly truth behind those dazzling headlines suggesting vegetarians are heart-healthier than meat-eaters.
But get a load of this madness: The American Heart Association (AHA) just announced that the first and best way to address high blood pressure and cholesterol in otherwise healthy adults is through a “prescription” to sit less and move more.
Talk about a mic drop—I truly never thought I would see the day! (In case you can’t tell, this is one form of “crazy” that I’m thrilled about!)
Let’s take a closer look…
Simple strategy, significant benefits
This 12-page scientific statement debuted in the journal Hypertension back in early June.
According to the AHA, just over one in five American adults meet the criteria for “lifestyle-only” blood pressure treatment. (In this case, that means a top number between 120 and 139 and a bottom number between 80 and 89.)
But let me ask: Have you ever once gone to your doctor and left with a prescription for lifestyle change? If so, please write in and let me know, because from what I’ve seen, this almost never happens.
And that’s a real tragedy. Because we’re talking about simple things that you should be very familiar with by now: getting regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, eating better, quitting smoking, and moderating your alcohol intake.
But guess which one of those has the most benefits? That’s right—physical activity.
In fact, research shows that exercising more can drop blood pressure by up to four points! That might seem like a small number—but it adds up to a 21 percent lower risk of developing heart disease, and a 36 percent lower risk of dying from it.
The only prescription you need
If you’re a regular reader, you already know my thoughts on lifestyle prescriptions. But this is coming from an organization that wants the entire planet to be on statins. (Did they run out of expensive heart drugs to push or something?!)
Regardless of the reason for this revelation, here’s hoping that it marks a new trend in the mainstream medical community. Because it’s not just heart health that can benefit from physical activity…
Simply moving more can lower your risk of cancer and Alzheimer’s. It can boost bone health, brain health, and sleep quality. And a whole lot more. (The list is practically endless.)
And here’s the best part: While we talk a lot about the standard 150 minutes of activity you should be getting every week, you don’t even need to do that much to achieve these benefits.
Like I always tell my patients, every little bit counts—and you can make gains on as little as five to ten minutes per day. (Of course, I do encourage you to work your way up to the standard 20 minutes per day, even if it takes you a little while to get there.)
This latest statement encourages doctors to at least ask their patients how much they’re exercising at every visit—something I always do. But given the fact that most physicians spend less than seven minutes on each patient—and are often out of shape themselves—let’s just say it isn’t exactly common practice.
(That’s exactly why I book 30- to 60-minute time slots for each of my patients—to ensure I have time to discuss these super important lifestyle issues.)
So, if you aren’t already talking about your lifestyle with your doctor, I urge you to spark the conversation. And if it ends up getting swooped under the rug, it’s time to find a new physician.
P.S. I’ll be outlining an all-natural plan to help prevent and reverse America’s biggest killers—like high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke—in an exclusive, live event. Be sure to keep your eye on your inbox for more details next week!
“‘Prescription’ to sit less, move more advised for mildly high blood pressure and cholesterol.” Science Daily, 06/02/2021. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/06/210602091419.htm)