Isometric Resistance Training Very Safe For High Blood Pressure Patients: Study

IRT can cause meaningful changes in blood pressure — almost as much as what is expected with blood pressure-lowering medications says a new study.

High blood pressure or hypertension is a common condition affecting 1.13 billion people around the globe. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, which are leading causes death worldwide. Yet, many people who have high blood pressure don’t realise they’re living with it. Hence, people over the age of 18 are advised to have a blood pressure check at least every two years.

Exercise is considered as one effective strategy to reduce the global prevalence and severity of high blood pressure. Aerobic and dynamic resistance exercises are most recommended when it comes to improving heart health. But have you heard about isometric resistance training (IRT)?

A new study led by UNSW Medicine & Health researchers has described IRT as a time-efficient means of reducing blood pressure.

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What is isometric resistance training?

Isometric training is a type of strength training that recruit muscles and exert tension without actually lengthening or shortening the muscle.

For example, plank, bent-over press against wall, and static lunge are isometric exercises where the muscles produce force but do not change length, unlike traditional strength training like a squat or a push up, where muscles shorten and lengthen during the movement.

However, isometric resistance training is not recommended for the management of high blood pressure in many international guidelines over safety concerns. This is because the static nature of IRT is thought to cause blood pressure to increase markedly during exercise, particularly when performed using large muscle groups or at high intensity, compared to traditional strength exercises such as lifting weights or aerobic exercise such as walking or cycling.

IRT is very safe for high blood pressure patients

But the new study led by Harrison Hansford and Dr Matthew Jones, both accredited exercise physiologists at the School of Health Sciences, found IRT to be safe for high blood pressure patients.

“We found that IRT was very safe and caused meaningful changes in blood pressure — almost as much as what you’d expect to see with blood pressure-lowering medications,” said Dr Jones, as quoted by Science Daily.

It also caused improvements in central blood pressure (the pressure in the heart’s largest artery — the aorta, and an important predictor of cardiovascular disease) and to a lesser extent ambulatory blood pressure (average blood pressure across a 24-hour period), they said.

“IRT is a time-efficient means of reducing blood pressure, needing only 12 minutes a day, two to three days per week to produce the effects we found in our review,” he added.

What’s more, IRT is accessible and easy to perform. You could easily perform it while sitting down watching TV.


This post first appeared on The Health Site

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