A new study from Brazil has shown that strength training with moderate to vigorous intensity two or three times a week is an effective way to lower high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is a problem that affects many people around the world, and it can be caused by an unhealthy diet, drinking too much alcohol, smoking, and not getting enough exercise.
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide, and high blood pressure accounts for 13.8% of deaths from such diseases.
This study aimed to see if strength training could help lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
The study analyzed over 21,000 scientific articles and conducted a Cochrane meta-analysis, which is considered the gold standard for systematic reviews.
The researchers looked at the effects of variables such as age, training dose-response, load, volume, and frequency.
They found that after eight to ten weeks of strength training, there was a reduction of 10 mmHg in systolic pressure and 4.79 mmHg in diastolic pressure.
Effective results appeared around the twentieth training session, and blood pressure remained lower for about 14 weeks after training ended.
Strength training has long been known to be a therapeutic option, but this study showed the most effective protocols to use.
Moderate to vigorous load intensity was defined as more than 60% of the heaviest weight subjects could lift just once.
Most study samples were aged between 60 and 68, but strength training can be practiced at any age, and the effect on blood pressure is beneficial in older people, too.
In the longer term, strength training can facilitate adaptations such as a lower resting heart rate, lower blood pressure, improved heart efficiency, and higher VO2max, which is relevant to cardiovascular health.
The study showed that strength training is most effective in terms of lowering blood pressure in protocols with moderate to vigorous load intensity, a frequency of at least twice per week, and a minimum duration of eight weeks.
Overall, this study shows that strength training is an effective way to lower high blood pressure, which can help prevent cardiovascular diseases.
It is a non-pharmacological intervention that can be practiced by anyone and can be combined with other healthy lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, reducing alcohol intake, and quitting smoking.
How to have healthy blood pressure
There are several lifestyle changes and medical interventions that can help reduce high blood pressure:
Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese puts extra strain on your heart and blood vessels, which can increase blood pressure. Losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce blood pressure.
Eat a healthy diet: A healthy diet that is low in salt, saturated and trans fats, and high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help reduce blood pressure.
Exercise regularly: Physical activity can help lower blood pressure. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week.
Limit alcohol consumption: Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure. Men should limit their alcohol intake to no more than two drinks per day, and women should limit their intake to no more than one drink per day.
Quit smoking: Smoking can raise blood pressure and damage blood vessels. Quitting smoking can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Manage stress: Chronic stress can raise blood pressure. Find ways to manage stress, such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.
Take medications as prescribed: If lifestyle changes alone are not enough to control high blood pressure, your doctor may prescribe medication to help lower it.
It’s important to work with your healthcare provider to develop a plan to manage your blood pressure, which may include a combination of lifestyle changes and medication.
If you care about blood pressure, please read studies about cannabis linked to blood pressure reduction in older people, and how herb medicines reduce high blood pressure
For more information about health, please see recent studies about how to live with high blood pressure, and results showing strawberries could help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
The study was conducted by Rafael Ribeiro Correia et al and published in Scientific Reports.
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