Aug 1, 2023Study cites isometric exercises as best to help lower blood pressure
According to a recent systematic review, isometric exercises are the best to lower your blood pressure.
Exercises like wall sits and planks performed regularly were mentioned as examples in a systematic review and meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
A recent story from Forbes.com detailed the British Journal of Sports Medicine study. Below is an excerpt from the Forbes.com story.
This analysis found that performing such isometric exercises over time was associated with on average a 8.24 mmHg decrease in systolic blood pressure and a 4 mm Hg decrease in diastolic blood pressure.
That was more than the 4.08 and 2.50 mmHg decreases seen with high-intensity interval training, the 4.49 and 2.53 mm Hg decreases with aerobic-exercise training such as running or cycling, the 4.55 and 3.04 mm Hg with dynamic resistance or weight training, and the 6.04 and 2.54 mmHg decreases with combined aerobic and weight training. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should do nothing but planks and wall sits (or wall squats). Don’t just sign up for the plank-only classes at your local gym. The other types of exercises did show associations with lowering blood pressure as well. But this does suggest that you may want to add something isometric to your weekly exercise routine.
For this meta-analysis, a team from Canterbury Christ Church University (Jamie J. Edwards, Algis H.P. Deenmamode, Megan Griffiths, Oliver Arnold, Jonathan D. Wiles, and Jamie M. O’Driscoll) and the University of Leicester (Nicola J Cooper) searched for randomized controlled trials that were published between January 1990 and February 2023 and reported changes in systolic and diastolic blood pressure after some type of exercise intervention that lasted at least two weeks. Ultimately, they identified 270 such trials that included a combined total of 15,827 participants.
Isometric exercises are where you tighten a specific muscle or group of muscles for a period of time. The word isometric begins with the prefix “iso,” which sounds like “I so” rather than “me so” and means “equal.” It ends with “metric,” which means “measure” as in the “metric system.” In isometric exercises, your muscles remain at “equal measure” as in they don’t really change their lengths
To read the full story from Forbes.com, click here.