Lower Your Blood Pressure with Resistance Training
Resistance Training helps reduce Blood Pressure
Research shows that resistance training offers similar benefits as aerobic exercise in lowering blood pressure. Resistance exercise improves blood flow which in turn lowers blood pressure. The results are significant because it demonstrates that aerobic exercise is not the only method that an individual can use to improve cardiovascular health.
What is Resistance Exercise?
Resistance exercise is any form of exercise that forces your skeletal muscles (not the involuntary muscles of your heart, lungs, etc.) to contract. An external resistance (such as heavy weights) is used to cause the contractions, and those contractions lead to increases in muscular mass, strength, endurance and tone. There are three basic types of resistance exercises:
- Body Weight — This uses only your body weight to force your muscles to contract. It includes exercises like pull-ups, push-ups, and squats.
- Free Weights — Using dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells helps to increase the strain placed on your muscles, forcing those contractions and building muscle. Free weight training is considered the most effective form of resistance exercise, as it engages secondary muscles (stabilizers) and leads to more effective muscle growth.
- Weight Machines — Not as effective as free weights, but they are a safer alternative for those who are new to resistance training.
Resistance training offers similar benefits to Aerobic Exercise
Using equipment normally found in fitness centers and by investigating changes to arteries and blood flow after forty five minutes of moderate intensity resistance exercise, researchers discovered that resistance training led to as much as 20 percent in lowering blood pressure — as effective as if not more effective than taking blood pressure lowering medication. This offers a natural and alternatively healthy way of lowering blood pressure without the unwanted side effects.
Resistance training helps treat and protect against osteoporosis as well as helps to increase metabolism and provides some psychological and social benefits.
Right now, the American Heart Association continues to recommend aerobic exercise for reducing cardiovascular risk, but this type of exercise is either difficult or impossible for people that suffer from high obesity or have orthopedic limitations. These patients can’t run or walk long distances. For these people, resistance training becomes a better alternative.
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