In a previous post on sex and high blood pressure we described how prehypertension and hypertension could wreak havoc on your sex life. We gave very brief answers to the question: “So what can you do to make sure you maintain a healthy blood pressure and get back to your desired sex life?” Now with this post we offer a more in depth guide so you will be able to enjoy your sex life to the fullest.
Tips to manage hypertension (high BP) and enjoy a healthy sex life
Even if you do NOTHING to alter your eating habits, and even if you have virtually no time to spare for demanding exercise routines, you can can still have a tremendous impact on your heart health by doing just a few easy things. For example: stand up during every TV commercial break; park your car a bit further away from your destination in order to walk more, or if it’s one or two flights, try to use stairs instead of the elevator, if you are at work, set a timer and get up and walk to the drinking fountain or around your cubicle every 30 min. The more you are up and moving and not just sitting, the stronger your heart will become and the lower your BP can go.
Now if you are still able to have sex, go for it because your sexual activity could be one of your best workout sessions ever. The level of intensity that is exerted from 15 min of sex is higher than walking for 15 min [3 miles per hour] but less than that of jogging for 15 min [5 miles per hour]. So if you aren’t up for a jog, but are up for sex, by all means have sex and improve your heart health naturally! (Fun Fact: To calculate how many calories you burn the next time you have sex, multiply the time in minutes by 3.1 – for women, or 4.2- for men.)
#2: Keep tabs on your smoking
Did you know there’s a link between smoking and erectile dysfunction? The nicotine in cigarette smoke is a big part of the problem. It causes temporary spikes in your blood pressure and makes your arteries harder and more narrow (so less blood flow to your nether regions). Your heart has to work harder to pump blood throughout the body so even if you can initially get an erection, it will ultimately become weaker and more difficult to maintain.
However, about 20 minutes after your last cigarette, your body already has begun to respond. Your blood pressure goes down and your pulse rate slows. So if you do nothing else, just start lengthening the time between smokes. If you can wait 8 hours before your next smoke, your blood oxygen levels will have already begun to recover. If you can take a 24 hr break from smoking your chance of a heart attack will already have decreased!
So, try to reduce your smoking habit gradually. Get support from your doctor, family and friends. If you are able to quit, you are golden. But simple spacing between and modest reductions will make a difference.
#3: Track your blood pressure daily
Checking your BP at home is the most essential part of managing high BP. If you don’t know what your BP, you can’t understand how well you are doing to manage it. You have to record and you need to be able to visualize trends over time. If you are on medication is it working? Do you see any patterns like your blood pressure goes up every Monday morning before work or after you eat a big dinner? Does your BP go down if you have sex (or masturbate)?
The free Hello Heart app (iOS, Android) helps you out her. It keeps track of all your blood pressure readings and provides easy tips to help you understand and improve your health. As an added bonus, it also tracks your cholesterol and and diabetes risks.
#4: Keep in touch with your doctor
It’s a good idea idea to stay in touch with your doctor, especially when you have erectile dysfunction caused from prehypertension or high BP. Treatment for high BP and satisfaction with sex can go hand-in-hand if you’re open about the problem and work closely with your doctor. We’ll talk more about sex and BP medications in an upcoming post.
An active sex life is good for your health at any age. Making gradual changes to your lifestyle can both help you live longer and have more /better sex.