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According to researchers, resistance training which includes weight training, stretching, and flexing exercises exhibits benefits similar to aerobic exercise in lowering a person's blood pressure when done in moderation.
Lead investigator of the study, Dr. Scott Collier of the College of Health Sciences’ Department of Health, Leisure and Exercise Science at Appalachian State University stated, “Resistance exercise increases blood flow which reduces blood pressure.
“Aerobic exercise is the American Heart Association’s preferred exercise for decreasing cardiovascular risk. However, there are a lot of people with orthopedic or obesity limitations who can’t walk or run long distances. For them, that type of exercise would be contraindicated.”
Effect of resistance training on blood pressure examined
Researchers delving into the effect of resistance training on blood pressure found compelling evidence that it is a positive step towards lowering pressure levels.
They monitored the effect of resistance exercise training on blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors from machines used in most fitness centers.
The focus of the study was to gauge the changes that occurred in arteries and blood flow after 45 minutes of moderate to intense resistance exercise.
Findings of the study
It was noted that blood pressure levels dropped by nearly 20 percent. According to experts, the decrease exhibited is similar if not better than some medications used to regulate blood pressure sans the adverse effects.
Researchers found an increase in the blood flow to the limbs and a decrease in arterial stiffness within 45 minutes of the regime.
In addition, it was noticed that the effect of the training lasted for as a much as 24 hours.
Researchers found that resistance training can be relied upon to preserve a healthy heart in individuals with physical limitations. A positive impact on blood flow and elasticity to the arteries was perceived post exercise.
Collier found that women who opted for resistance training to lower their blood pressure gain additional benefits.
He stated, “Resistance training also helps protect against or treat osteoporosis. Any exercise is good. But if you can’t do aerobic exercise, resistance exercise can help decrease blood pressure and increase metabolism as well as provide social and psychological benefits”.
The study has been published in the 'Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.'