High blood pressure: Lifestyle changes to reduce reading
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High blood pressure is one of the nine leading risk factors influencing cardiovascular disease death risk. High blood pressure is estimated to lead to roughly seven million deaths each year, which equates to about 13 percent of the total deaths worldwide. With these shocking figures in mind, finding ways to help lower your blood pressure is imperative. However, despite what many may believe this does not have to mean slogging it out in the gym. In fact, a simple exercise you can do at home has shown impressive results in lowering your hypertension risk.
For many years, health care professionals have known that increasing your hand grip strength often works just as well as blood pressure-lowering medicines.
In fact, studies have shown that a blood pressure reduction of 12.5 in their systolic blood pressure (the top number given in your blood pressure) and 14.9 in their diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number).
Danielle Bentley and colleagues at the University of Toronto said: “Handgrip exercise is an effective modality for resting blood pressure reduction, resulting in clinically significant reductions for men and women of all ages.”
In a study published in Hypertension, impact of resistance training on blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors was investigated.
The study analysed several studies pertaining to the best form of exercise for lowering blood pressure.
It was found that overall, resistance training induced a significant blood pressure reduction in 28 normotensive or prehypertensive study groups.
When study groups were divided according to the mode of training, isometric handgrip training in three groups resulted in a larger decrease in blood pressure.
“Given that the association between blood pressure and cardiovascular risk has no lower threshold, reductions of this magnitude in individuals with even optimal blood pressure at baseline still seem to have clinical significance,” noted the study.
It added: “This underlines the potential of RT as adjuvant therapy for the prevention and treatment of high blood pressure.
“Despite some limitations, this meta-analysis provides evidence for the potential of dynamic resistance exercise training to significantly decrease blood pressure.”
In another study by McMaster University Ontario, Canada; specialised handgrip devices in helping to lower blood pressure was analysed.
In one test, participants performed 10 handgrip exercises three times a week for eight weeks, working at 30 percent of their maximal voluntary contraction.
Researcher Adrienne Cisocchi and colleagues found that hand exercises helped significantly lower blood pressure.
It was also noted that the carotid artery became more flexible and less rigid after the hand exercises promoting healthy blood vessels.
“The results of this study indicate that isometric handgrip exercise improves resting systolic blood pressure and carotid artery inflexibility,” concluded the researchers.
How to do it
A resistance bar or band must be squeezed with one hand for two minutes.
It’s advised to then rest for two minutes and switch to the other hands doing two sets for each hand.
To get the most effect from the exercise, you need to hold for the two minutes at 30 percent of your maximum effort.
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