A recent study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, highlights the benefits of various exercises in reducing blood pressure. The research examined different exercise types, including cardio (aerobic exercises), dynamic resistance training (e.g., squats, press-ups, weights), and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). However, isometric exercises, such as wall squats, emerged as the most effective in reducing systolic (upper reading) blood pressure.
The study found that isometric exercises were able to lower systolic blood pressure by an impressive 98 per cent, surpassing the effects of combined training (76 per cent), dynamic resistance training (46 per cent), aerobic exercises (40.5 per cent), and HIIT (39 per cent).
Both wall squats (isometric) and running (aerobic) were identified as the most effective individual exercises for reducing systolic and diastolic (lower reading) blood pressure, respectively. However, overall, isometric exercise proved to be the most effective in lowering both elements of blood pressure.
The researchers from Canterbury Christ Church University, UK, concluded that isometric exercise training offers the most comprehensive and significant reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. This data-driven framework can help guide the development of updated exercise guidelines for preventing and treating arterial hypertension.
Traditionally, aerobic exercises have been recommended for managing BP
Traditionally, aerobic exercises like walking, running, and cycling have been recommended for managing blood pressure. However, these guidelines might not consider newer forms of exercise like HIIT and isometric training. The current study suggests it may be time to reevaluate and update the exercise recommendations for hypertension.
To gather their findings, the researchers analyzed data from 270 randomized controlled trials, comprising 15,827 participants, published between 1990 and February 2023. The results revealed significant reductions in resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure across all categories of exercise, with isometric exercise training showing the most substantial drops in both readings.