Almost 50% of all adults in America, and 83% of those 85 and older, have high blood pressure, which is defined as 130/80 or higher. And only about a quarter of those people have it under control.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 34 million people who need to take medication to lower their blood pressure, but aren’t doing so.
That's not wise. Blood pressure medications reduce serious cardiac events sixfold in just 5.3 years after age 53, and there are dozens to choose from.
But there are also major lifestyle changes that can reduce your blood pressure: limiting or eliminating alcohol, eating a plant-based diet, controlling salt intake, and getting plenty of exercise.
Traditionally, aerobic exercise has been recommended to help control and lower blood pressure. But a new study in JAMA that looked at the results of 270 randomized trials involving almost 16,000 participants found that while all exercise is beneficial, isometric exercise is the most effective type.
The researchers say isometric exercise lowered blood pressure by up to 8.24 mmHg, while aerobic exercise lowered it by up to 4.49 mmHg. And an overall analysis of effectiveness found that isometrics were 98% effective in lowering blood pressure while aerobics were 40.5%.
What are isometric exercises?
Anything that makes you contract your muscles and remain in that position without moving. That's planks, wall squats, bridges, and using stretchy bands to achieve either extension or contraction of arms or legs. Five to 15 minutes three times a week is a good place to start.