The answer, according to Belgium researchers, is to engage in a little isometric resistance training. Not familiar with the term? Neither was I, until I did a little research.
Isometric resistance training involves muscular actions in which the length of your muscles doesnât actually change. In other words, you wonât see your muscles moving or stretching. All the force you apply against your muscles is done in a static way. Your muscles are tense but they donât actually contract like they would when you lift a heavy barbell.
Doing the plankâwhere you lie on the ground and then raise your body up parallel with the floor, balancing on your arms and feetâis one common isometric exercise. You donât lift or pull on a weight, you donât move your muscles around actively, but you definitely get a workout. Just try holding the plank position for a few minutes!
Isometric Resistance Exercises to Lower Blood Pressure
Isometric resistance exercises have a few benefits going for them, along with lowering your blood pressure naturally. You wonât need to buy any high-tech equipment (which can be very pricey) or buy an expensive membership to the gym. Isometric resistance exercises also tend to be fairly safe to perform compared to other types of resistance training. They donât have a history of causing injuries to those who do them.
When the Belgian researchers compared isometric resistance training with other types of resistance training, they found that this form triggered the greatest drop in systolic blood pressure.
Even NASA studied isometric resistant exercises for their ability to keep astronautsâ muscles toned while in the weightlessness of space. It turned out that isometrics werenât the best option for staving off muscle atrophy caused by living in a zero gravity environment. The exercises did promote muscle growth but they couldnât stop muscles from degrading on a molecular level.
However, for the rest of us living under the influence of earthâs gravity, isometric resistance training is just fine. It should trigger a drop in your blood pressure and boost the strength of your heart.
Source(s) for Todayâs Article:
Cornelissen, V.A., et al, âExercise Training for Blood Pressure: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis,â J Am Heart Assoc. February 1, 2013; 2(1): e004473.
Barry, P.L., et al., âWhy Do Workouts Work?â NASA web site; http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2004/10dec_muscles/.