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High Blood Pressure, Diet, Exercise, and Better Sex

A Diet to Fight High Blood Pressure continued...

Every man's dietary needs are a little different, so talk to your doctor or nutritionist about what you should be eating. Your daily calorie requirements depend on size, age, and activity level.

A 2,000-calorie diet is just about right for a 55-year-old man of average weight and height, who is slightly active and wants to maintain his weight. A tall, athletic 35-year-old might need more than 3,000 calories a day to maintain the right weight.

There is no way around it. To lose weight you have to keep an eye on the number of calories you consume. Remember that 3,500 calories equals one pound of body fat. To lose a pound a week (a healthy weight-loss goal), means eating 500 calories per day fewer than you do now.

For those with high blood pressure, it's very important to limit sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams per day. That's only about two-thirds of a teaspoon of table salt.

That can be a hard target to hit if you eat a lot of processed foods (canned soups, cold cuts, or processed cheese, for example). Your best bet is to eat only fresh foods that contain no added preservatives or fats, and don't add any extra salt from the shaker. Read food labels to find out how much sodium is in any packaged or canned food you buy.

Work Out Your Workout

When it comes to exercise, you don't have to follow any "fad" workouts. Just find a way to get your body moving and heart rate up. Here is the recommendation of the CDC:

  • 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week; or
  • 20 minutes of vigorous exercise three days a week.

But what do "moderate" and "vigorous" mean? You can tell how intense the activity you're doing is by measuring your heart rate while you're doing it.

First, figure out what your maximum heart rate is. That's the number 220 minus your age. If you're 40, your max heart rate is 180.

To measure heart rate while exercising, pause briefly to take your pulse. Place your middle and index fingers on the artery of your neck or wrist where you can feel your pulse. Using a watch with a second hand, count the number of pulses, or beats, in 60 seconds. That's your heart rate. (If you'd rather take less time, you can count the number of beats in 30 seconds and multiply by two.)

When you're doing moderate exercise, your heart rate will be 50% to 70% of your maximum heart rate. If your max heart rate is 180, your goal for moderate exercise is to get your heart rate up to 90 to 126 beats per minute (bpm).

Here's that equation:

220 - age = max heart rate

180 x 0.50 (50%) = 90 bpm
180 x 0.70 (70%) = 126 bpm

For vigorous exercise, figure it the same way, but instead of 50% to 70% of your max heart rate, the range is 70% to 85%.

180 x 0.70 (70%) = 126 bpm
180 x 0.85 (85%) = 153 bpm

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