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These movement-free exercises can lower blood pressure, study finds

The Mayo Clinic points out that certain types of static or isometric exercises using just body weight have significant benefits.
These movement-free exercises can lower blood pressure, study finds
Posted at 3:55 PM, Mar 15, 2024

Research in a large study recently showed that certain exercises using body weight, known as static and isometric exercises, can have big benefits on the body, including lowering blood pressure. 

The study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that exercises like planks and wall squats — which contract muscles and engage them without using weights — have been shown to be the best to add to your routine to lower blood pressure. 

The exercises are something just about anyone can add to their routine to perform in any location including at home, at the gym or even at hotels while traveling. 

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Strength training has already been shown to add marked benefits to one's health, and these types of static, low impact techniques don't move joints or involve much impact. But they still help to improve stability in the body, which can prevent injuries and falls. 

The Mayo Clinic says that isometric exercises won't improve speed because they are done in a still position, and they won't necessarily improve athletic performance. They can help people with injuries who need exercise, but for whom movement is painful. 

The new  study looked at randomized controlled trials that were published between 1990 and 2023. The data found that "all relevant work" reported reductions in systolic blood pressure and/or diastolic blood pressure after exercise over a two week or greater time period. A control group that did not perform the exercises was also analyzed in a similar way to compare. 

The study gathered data from 270 randomized control trials for its analysis.

Experts still say traditional aerobic exercise training should be the primary exercise approach to manage high blood pressure as a non-pharmacological method. 

The study authors also noted that "current exercise guidelines for blood pressure control are largely based on older data." Hypertension is considered to be "a leading modifiable risk factor for mortality and morbidity."

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