3in1 to lower blood pressure, stress, bio age
Updated: May 12
Did you know that blood pressure, stress and cardio fitness are closely linked? Did you also know that cardio fitness is closely correlated with your biological age? What if there was a simple way to lower BP, stress and bio age with one simple 3in1 program?
Such a program in fact is available. I created it while fixing my high blood pressure. It is free, based on science and ANYONE can observe OBJECTIVE improvements within several months.
Let me start by answering some obvious questions which you may have.
How do we know that blood pressure and stress are linked?
Research shows that there is a correlation between high levels of stress and high blood pressure. In fact, a study conducted by Princeton University with 30,000 participants found that as we get older, the correlation between stress and high blood pressure becomes stronger . It means that slowing aging processes in your body will not only help you to look younger but also help to manage blood pressure.
Did you know that you can measure stress with your phone’s camera? With the help of our BreathNow app, you can measure your heart rate variability (HRV), which has been shown to be an effective way to measure stress. HRV is the variation in time between successive heartbeats, and it reflects the body's ability to respond to stress.
A higher HRV score indicates that the body is better able to manage stress, while a lower HRV score indicates that the body is experiencing more stress. Here is my stress graph for the last 30 days created by BreathNow. It shows increase in my stress level on March 20th when my body was fighting a stomach bug.
BreathNow is also a blood pressure tracking app. It shows what activities produce most positive outcome for your blood pressure and you can easily share your BP readings with your doctor.
High blood pressure? You need to watch your V02max.
V02max is a generally accepted way to measure cardio fitness. It is a measurement of the maximum amount of oxygen that your body can consume during exercise. You want your cardio fitness (and V02max) to be as high as possible, as it means that you are healthier. Also studies have shown that higher cardio fitness is associated with lower blood pressure .
In simple terms VO2Max (cardio fitness) shows how quickly you can move (run, cycle, swim) with a maximum effort for 2-4 minutes. Here is an example of my VO2max graph. It shows how my VO2max dropped in September last year after I got sick with Covid. It took me quite some time to get on the recovery path.
This scientific paper  proves a strong link between VO2Max and longevity . If you know your VO2Max you can see how you stack up against other people of your age and gender in the VO2max chart from the American College of Sports Medicine .
Here is a simplified version of the VO2max chart for women as summarised by FirstBeat . Same chart for men can be also found here .
This chart clearly illustrates the difference between the chronological age (how long ago you were born) and your bio age (how healthy is your body as measured by VO2max). For a woman in her early 30s having a VO2max of 29 is considered to have ‘Poor' cardio fitness. However, the cardio fitness of another woman in her late 50s with the same VO2max of 29 would be considered to be ‘Good’.
How do I find my VO2max number?
You can take a test in a specialised lab. If this sounds too complicated you can use an estimation provided by Apple Watch or some other smart watchers. What if you do not have an Apple Watch?
You can do a simple 5 min step test at home using our app BreathNow. This app test was developed together with the University of Cambridge (UK) and provides a pretty good estimation of your VO2max .
What is a 3in1 program to lower blood pressure, stress and bio age?
Hopefully by now you have bought into the concept of blood pressure, stress, bio age (as measured by cardio fitness/VO2max) being closely linked. What type of activities should you do to lower these parameters?
1. BREATHING. First of all you need to learn how to relax quickly with mindfulness activities. Check our previous popular blog posts on slow breathing, meditation and yoga for blood pressure.
These activities are easy to do (though they require regular practice) and lower blood pressure and lower stress can be achieved in minutes. Measure blood pressure with your blood pressure monitor before and after the exercise to see the difference. Also immediate stress changes can be observed with the stress monitor in the BreathNow app. You can measure these changes just with the iPhone's camera, no other sensors needed.
Please note that these easy to do relaxation practices produce immediate positive effect in just a few minutes but it generally lasts just for 1-3 hours. Like with many things in life you have to work harder for long term benefits.
2. Which brings us to the 2nd element of the program: WALKING. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 min of moderate intensity aerobic activity per week . Brisk walking is one example of a moderate intensity aerobic activity. It means walking at a speed when you can barely speak.
Depending on how tall you are and how fast you walk this translates into 15000 to 20000 steps per week. Remember, this is the recommended minimum and more steps will definitely benefit your health.
Walking in nature has additional benefits. It relaxes your mind and helps to lower stress. Research published in Nature  has demonstrated that spending at least two hours per week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing.
Walking takes more effort than a calming exercise which you can do sitting on your coach. Yet walking produces longer lasting positive effect on blood pressure and has additional benefits:
It lowers stress (especially when walking in nature) which further lowers BP.
It helps with weight management. Excess body weight has a negative impact on BP.
Brisk walking and jogging also lay the foundation for the 3rd part of our 3in1 program.
3. HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING (HIIT) EXERCISES. This name may sound scary but these exercises are short. They can be completed in under 5 minutes and depending on your physical condition should be repeated 2-3 times per week.
HIIT exercises are deliberately designed to temporarily stress your cardiovascular system so it gets stronger with time. These exercises will accelerate your heart rate close to a maximum level. Your heart and blood vessels will learn how to pump blood more efficiently which leads to lower blood pressure in the long run. This is the only way to increase VO2Max, which as we know already, an indicator of cardio fitness and scientifically proven predictor of all cause mortality.