Young afroamerican man getting fit in Los Angeles downtown city streets All types of physical activity can help improve blood pressure, but new research suggests that isometric exercise may provide the best benefit.
The positive effect exercise has on blood pressure supports cardiovascular health, and the more you move, the better the effects.
Any kind of activity can improve blood pressure to some degree. In fact, the American Heart Association suggests exercise is so powerful, it should be “prescribed” as a first-line treatment strategy for hypertension. But a recent research review in the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests isometric exercise may offer the biggest benefit.
Also known as static exercises, isometric exercises involve contracting a specific muscle or group of muscles in one position without moving. This can be done with or without weights; examples include planks , wall sits, and squat holds.
In the review, researchers looked at 270 randomized, controlled trials that represented nearly 16,000 participants engaged in different types of exercise programs. Although there were significant reductions in blood pressure with aerobic training , dynamic resistance training, and high-intensity interval training , it was isometric exercise that seemed the most effective at improving blood pressure regulation.
More From Bicycling play icon The triangle icon that indicates to play Video player poster image In terms of why this type of exercise might have such a profound effect on blood pressure, the researchers concluded it may be because isometric exercise compresses blood vessels during a static muscle contraction. When […]