Reduce your blood pressure without getting out of your chair? It may be possible -- if you do a little squeezing while you sit.
Isometric exercises, the kind where you contract large muscles without actually moving the body part, may help reduce blood pressure in healthy people, a new study shows. And something as simple as squeezing your inner thigh muscles together while you sit would qualify.
That's right. Isometric exercises can be done anytime, anywhere, and they don't require you to bend or lift. In a handful of studies, folks with normal blood pressure who did three 15- to 20-minute sessions of isometric exercises every week for 10 weeks experienced more than a 10-point plunge in their systolic blood pressure. And their diastolic pressure fell almost seven points. Not bad for not lifting a finger! Simple things like doing a static hand grip, flexing the butt muscles or doing leg squeezes all count. In the research, the three weekly sessions included doing multiple two-minute rounds of isometric clenches like those, with one to three minute rests in between.
It's super important to note that people with high blood pressure need to speak with a doctor before beginning any exercise program -- but especially one involving isometric exercises. In people who have hypertension, isometric exercises could cause a dangerous spike in blood pressure.