New Study Says Isometric Exercise Is Best For Lowering Resting Blood Pressure
Everyone has their own reason for exercising. Some folks work out to build longevity-boosting muscle, others to improve their mood, and others to manage their chronic health conditions. Finding an exercise regimen that you enjoy that aligns with these goals is important.
For those working out hoping to lower their blood pressure, new research suggests one type of exercise may be the most beneficial—and it's not what you'd think.
Isometric exercise helps lower blood pressure
This may come as a surprise given that cardio is often considered the best exercise for heart health and blood pressure. And while aerobic movement has its own benefits, exercising at a high intensity can cause a dramatic increase in blood pressure, which may not be ideal for anyone who needs to keep their blood pressure low and stable.
While all of the exercise methods reviewed did benefit resting heart rate in some way—a case for regular exercise in any form!—isometric exercise did come out on top.
Now, you don't have to stop doing an exercise you enjoy just because of this study finding. Instead, consider adding in a few isometric exercises to the beginning or end of your workout, reserving one or two days a week to focus on isometric moves, or doing a strength-based yoga flow that utilizes holds every once in a while.
Here are some other isometric movements from the mindbodygreen archive you can easily work into your routine:
Why does blood pressure matter?
Some chronic health conditions like Type 2 diabetes and obesity can cause blood pressure to rise, as can things like smoking, not exercising, and eating a diet rich in saturated or trans fats.
In the meantime, add some isometric exercises to your daily routine and keep your food intake focused on whole and natural foods with healthy fats. And remember: Any movement is better than no movement, for blood pressure and beyond.
A new study found that isometric exercise was more effective at lowering resting blood pressure compared to other exercises. Static holding movements like planks, wall squats, and dead hangs are all isometric moves. If you're not sure where to start, incorporate some planks into your workout routine—here are 10 variations to get you started.
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty & Health Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including skin care, women’s health, mental health, sustainability, social media trends, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends and innovations, women’s health research, brain health news, and plenty more.