CNN – When it comes to lowering blood pressure, studies have typically shown that aerobic or cardio exercises are best.
Now, new research suggests another type of physical activity is worth including as an effective tool to prevent and treat hypertension, or high blood pressure.
Exercises that engage muscles without movement — such as wall squats and planks — may be best for lowering blood pressure, according to a large study published Tuesday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
This type of training is known as isometric, or static, exercise, according to the Mayo Clinic. Isometric muscle action happens when muscles contract but do not visibly change length, and the joints involved don’t move, facilitating stability of the body …
Best exercise for blood pressure
Existing guidelines on exercise for blood pressure management — which emphasize aerobic or cardio exercises such as running or cycling — are effective but also based on old research that excludes more recently adopted exercise protocols such as high-intensity interval training and isometric training, the authors said.
The researchers felt the guidelines were outdated and in need of review, so they looked into randomized controlled trials that had reported the effects of exercise interventions, lasting two or more weeks, on systolic and/or diastolic blood pressure between 1990 and February 2023.
Systolic blood pressure measures the maximum pressure in the arteries as the heart contracts and relaxes, while diastolic blood pressure denotes what the arterial pressure is when the heart rests between beats, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The authors defined healthy resting blood pressure as a reading below 130 over 85 millimeters of mercury — a measurement of pressure known as mmHg — pre-high blood pressure as ranging from 130/85 mmHg to 139/89 mmHG, and high blood pressure as 140/90 mmHG or greater.
The top numbers of these figures are the systolic pressure; the bottom numbers are diastolic pressure …