According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website (www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts.htm), 1 in every 3 adults has high blood pressure. A recent report suggests that isometric exercise—in which joint angle and muscle length do not change during muscular contraction—can be used to reduce and manage blood pressure.
Published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings (2014; 89 , 327–34), the report reviewed various trials focused on adults aged 18 and over who completed isometric exercise protocols for at least 4 weeks. The goal was to quantify “the effects of isometric resistance training on the change in systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and mean arterial pressure in subclinical populations and to examine whether the magnitude of change in SBP and DBP was different with respect to blood pressure classification,” the authors stated.
In analyzing the data, the researchers found improvements in all measures. They also noticed a minor reduction in resting heart rate among participants.
“Our data suggest that this form of training has the potential to produce significant and clinically meaningful blood pressure reductions and could serve as an adjunctive exercise modality,” the authors concluded.