Reduce Blood Pressure with Isometric Exercises

Detail of a digital blood pressure and heart rate monitor with arm band. Blue-tinted monochrome image.

Reduce 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 study shows. And something as simple as squeezing your inner thigh muscles together while you sit would qualify.

A Dramatic Descent

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 7 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 2-minute rounds of isometric exercises like those, with 1 to 3 minute rests in between.

Not for People with High Blood Pressure

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. For more ways to reduce blood pressure safely and effectively, check out this advice:

More On

How alcohol affects your blood pressure

video

How alcohol affects your blood pressure
Did you know that drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure? In this video, learn what is considered drinking "in moderation."
High Blood Pressure at the Doctor’s Office May Be Riskier Than You Think

article

High Blood Pressure at the Doctor’s Office May Be Riskier Than You Think
People with untreated “white coat hypertension” may be at higher risk for death from heart disease than those with normal blood pressure.
100 to 100: Managing Blood Pressure

video

100 to 100: Managing Blood Pressure
Keeping your blood pressure in check could add years to your life. The best way to mange blood pressure? Eat a healthy diet!
What are the major diseases that concern you?

video

What are the major diseases that concern you?
Chronic diseases like asthma, hypertension, diabetes and COPD are major concerns, says HealthMaker Molly J. Coye, MD, chief innovation officer of the ...
‘Breath training’ may help to lower blood pressure

video

‘Breath training’ may help to lower blood pressure
There is mounting evidence that the muscles we use to breathe can be strengthened like other muscles in our bodies.