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Lower high blood pressure: This training really helps!

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Only old and overweight people have high blood pressure? Incorrect. Currently, around 20 to 30 million Germans suffer from high blood pressure, i.e. one in three to four people is affected – including an increasing number of younger people. Because high blood pressure poses a threat to your heart and all blood vessels and increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, you should definitely take steps to lower it as soon as you notice that you are affected.

It has long been said that if you want to lower your blood pressure naturally, you should do endurance sports. Of course, jogging, cycling, etc. also help against increased blood pressure, but a new study now shows that other training is even more effective at improving heart health: isometric training.

Different sports in comparison: All of them help – but one in particular

In order to examine the effects of different sports on blood pressure, the researchers took a closer look at a total of 270 clinical studies with almost 16,000 test subjects. The following disciplines were compared in terms of their blood pressure lowering effect:

  • dynamic strength training
  • isometric exercises
  • Endurance training
  • high-intensity interval training (HIIT)
  • combined training (alternating strength and endurance elements)

The results of the meta-analysis show that although all sports were able to lower blood pressure, one in particular was ahead: isometric training. Although high blood pressure could also be counteracted through endurance sports, high-intensity interval training and strength training, the effect here was only about half as effective as with isometric training. Combined training, i.e. a mixture of strength and endurance sports, helped somewhat better in the fight against high blood pressure, but was still not as successful as isometric exercises.

What is Isometric Training?

Isometric exercises are strength exercises that involve tensing a specific muscle group for a specific period of time but not moving the muscles. An example of such an exercise is the forearm plank, also known as “planks.” Here you are in the push-up position, but instead of supporting yourself on your hands, you support yourself on the floor with your forearms and keep the tension here. Isometric exercises also include, for example, wall sitting or any exercises in which a weight is held.

Why is isometric training particularly effective against high blood pressure? Study leader Jamie O’Driscoll suspects the following process in the body to be the cause: Tensing the muscles during an isometric exercise could compress the blood vessels that supply the muscles with blood. This means that less blood flows to the muscles during exercise, and therefore less oxygen. When the muscles then relax again, there is a large blood flow through the vessels, which is not the case in other sports and is probably responsible for the blood pressure-lowering effect of isometric training.

If you want to lower your blood pressure, it makes sense to exercise regularly and integrate isometric exercises into your training plan. In combination with a balanced, low-salt diet, not smoking and avoiding stress and being overweight, you may even be able to avoid taking medication after consulting your doctor.

A new study shows: Isometric training is particularly effective at reducing blood pressure. If you want to lower your blood pressure naturally, you should, in addition to a healthy lifestyle and avoiding alcohol, tobacco, too much salt and being overweight, focus on isometric exercises such as planks, wall sits and the like.

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