High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common and serious health problem that affects one in three adults in the US. It can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and other complications. Fortunately, exercise can help lower your blood pressure without medications!
What type of exercise is best for lowering blood pressure?
We get this question everyday! Do I need to run to lower my blood pressure? Is walking best? Is weight lifting best? According to a new study, the answer is actually… wall sits!
Wall sits are a type of isometric exercise, which means you contract your muscles without moving your joints. They are easy to do and require no equipment. All you need is a wall and some space.
To do a wall sit, follow these steps:
Stand with your back against a wall, your feet about a foot away from the wall, and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.
Hold this position for 30 seconds, or longer if you can.
Rest for a few seconds and repeat.
How do wall sits lower blood pressure?
Wall sits work by strengthening your heart and improving your blood circulation. A stronger heart can pump more blood with less effort, which reduces the pressure on your arteries. Wall sits also help you lose weight, which is another factor that affects blood pressure.
Does this mean I don’t need aerobic exercise to lower blood pressure?
We should be clear, our usually recommendation of at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week is still helpful at lowering blood pressure and still provides other cardiovascular benefits. But, when comparing different types of exercise, isometric exercises and specifically wall sits were associated with the greatest reduction in systolic blood pressure. It should be noted that all studied exercises helped, wall sits just had the largest drop in systolic blood pressure.
Like all things in medicine though, there is no magic one-size fits all solution at lower blood pressure. Exercise is only one part of a non-pharmaceutical treatment for lowering blood pressure.
Questions? Thoughts? Let us know! Text me (Dr. Sparks) directly if you are a current patient!
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