A client recently sent me an article about the latest research on the correlation between exercise and it’s ability to reduce high blood pressure.

Note: High blood pressure is known to be the number one controllable risk factor to prevent stroke.

We’ve known for a long time that exercise is an effective method for reducing high blood pressure. But a recent study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine asked the question, which exercise is the BEST at reducing it? They looked at over 15,000 individuals and analyzed over 270 different studies. They compared aerobic exercise, resistance training, high intensity interval training and isometric exercise.

They found that all forms of exercise reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure; but the most effective form of exercise for lowering blood pressure was ISOMETRIC exercise. Who knew!?

Isometric exercise training ranked as the most effective, followed by combined training (resistance and cardio), resistance training, cardio and HIIT.

What are Isometric Exercises?

Unlike resistance exercises, where a joint flexes or extends, joints don’t move during isometric exercise. The idea is to hold a single position for several seconds up to a few minutes. They are extremely safe exercises and often used when rehabilitating after an injury or when joints are sore, like with arthritis. But they are also effective for building strength…and lowering blood pressure!

And so those planks your trainer makes you do? Those wall squats your trainers makes you hold even when your quads are screaming? All isometric exercises.

The study went a bit further to look at the best individual exercises and found that wall squats and running were the best individual exercises.

And so, the next time your trainer asks you to press your back against a wall, sit low into those hips and stay there. Maybe the appropriate response is “Thank you” instead of those long sighs you often give us… 😉


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