Scientists at the University of New South Wales reviewed 24 studies that evaluated the effects of isometric exercise on blood pressure control. Experts were interested in how this type of physical activity affects blood vessels and how safe it is.
A total of 1143 people participated in the randomized trials that the analysis covered, the average age was 56 years, and the ratio of men to women was approximately the same. The volunteers were diagnosed with grade 1 or 2 arterial hypertension. Data from participants who performed static strength exercises were compared with control groups of people with the same disease who received only drug therapy. The review authors noted that they only looked at studies that lasted at least three weeks – this is the minimum time period for blood pressure to change.
Analysis of the data showed that under the influence of isometric exercises, the systolic (upper) pressure decreases on average by 6.97 mm Hg. Art. Diastolic (lower) pressure decreases by an average of 3.86 mm Hg. Central aortic systolic pressure – the most important indicator of cardiovascular disease – decreases by an average of 7.48 mm Hg. Art.
“We found that isometric exercise was very safe and produced significant changes in blood pressure – almost comparable to what you would expect from blood pressure lowering drugs,” the scientists said.
The authors of the review noted that to achieve a stable effect, it is enough to devote only 12 minutes to such exercises 2-3 times a week. For example, clenching and unclenching your fist with a certain intensity, and this can be done even while sitting on the couch in front of the TV.