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Taking part in "plank" or "sit against the wall" exercises can help control high blood pressure.

Brisk walking, cycling or swimming are often doctors' orders when it comes to high blood pressure.

But scientists are now suggesting that doing the "plank" or "sit up against the wall" exercises is the best way to help control high blood pressure.

A review of clinical data found that while aerobic exercise was beneficial, static exercises designed to train muscles had the greatest effect.

The researchers say the findings mean it's time to revise current exercise guidelines for the prevention and treatment of high blood pressure.

Current recommendations, such as walking and running, are based largely on older data that excludes newer forms of exercise, such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and isometric exercises.

Researchers at Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent, analyzed data for clinical trials reported that the effects of a training intervention lasting two or more weeks on resting blood pressure.

They are categorized as aerobic exercise ("cardio"), dynamic resistance training, combination training, HIIT training, and isometric training.

Blood pressure is expressed as systolic pressure, the top number that represents pressure as your heart pumps blood out, and diastolic pressure, the bottom number that measures pressure as your heart relaxes.

A healthy resting blood pressure was defined as a reading of less than 130/85 mmHg; Pre-hypertension such as 130-139/85-89 mmHg, high blood pressure 140/90 mmHg or more.

Their analysis of 270 trials between 1990 and 2023 involving nearly 16,000 participants found significant reductions in resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure after all the different exercise classes.

However, the greatest decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure was observed after isometric training with a decrease of 8.24/4 mm Hg, compared to 6.04/2.54 mm Hg for combined training, 4.55/3.04 mm Hg after dynamic resistance training, and 4.49/2.53 mm Hg. Hg for aerobics, and 4.08/2.50 mmHg after HIIT.

Additional analyzes revealed that wall squatting (isometric) and running (aerobic) were the most effective single exercises for reducing both measures of blood pressure, according to findings published in the British Medical Journal.

The researchers acknowledge that there were differences between participants, and that statistical and methodological processes and exercise interventions may have influenced the results.

However, they concluded: "Overall, isometric exercise training is the most effective method in reducing both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. These findings provide a comprehensive, data-driven framework to support the development of new exercise recommendations and guidelines for the prevention and treatment of arterial hypertension."

Source: Daily Mail


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