4 ways martial arts can help you control your blood pressure

High blood pressure affects about one in three American adults, or about 70 million individuals, putting these individuals at higher risk for two of the leading causes of death, heart disease and stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Another one-third of adults suffer from pre-hypertension, which means you have higher blood pressure numbers yet have not yet been diagnosed with high blood pressure. Worse yet, only about half of individuals who have high blood pressure do anything to control or lower it.

If you are looking for strategies to manage your blood pressure or prevent pre-hypertension from developing further, consider enrolling in a martial arts school.

For starters, martial arts may help you manage and lower your blood pressure naturally. However, anyone beginning an exercise regimen should consult with their doctor to see how it can best fit within your treatment plan. Here are four ways to control your blood pressure, and how martial arts can help:

1. Lose weight and trim your waistline.
Weight increases are often accompanied by jumps in blood pressure. Getting up and moving through regular practice of martial arts can control weight. Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight will prevent sleep apnea – another factor in high blood pressure.

2. Commit to regular exercise.
When students practice martial arts, their hearts are using blood more efficiently. This means students' hearts don't have to exert as much energy to perform activities both in and outside of the studio. Exercise can also help students with pre-hypertension avoid developing hypertension, while those already dealing with high blood pressure can bring it down to safer levels.

3. Reduce stress.
As work, school, family or other stressors seem to be multiplying, studios are adding martial arts students. These individuals recognize the benefits such practice helps to developing coping mechanisms and calm.

4. Meditate.
Many types of martial arts include a component of meditation. According to the American Heart Association, meditation can contribute to lower blood pressure, as it helps you let go of stress and take a mini-mental vacation.