Researchers at Canterbury Christ Church University in Kent, have concluded that isometric exercises like planks are best for lowering blood pressure. They performed a meta-analysis of 270 randomised controlled trials, involving nearly 16 000 people, and compared the effects of various forms of exercise on blood pressure.
In order of increasing effectiveness for lowering blood pressure, the figures in mmHg by which each exercise lowered systolic/ diastolic blood pressure were:
high intensity interval training – 4.1 / 2.5
aerobic exercise eg running, cycling – 4.5 / 2.5
dynamic resistance training eg push-ups – 4.5 / 3.0
combined training – 6.0 / 2.5
isometric training eg planks, wall sits – 8.2 / 4.0
The researchers conclude that these results should inform new guidelines for exercise in relation to hypertension.
(Exercise training and resting blood pressure: a large-scale pairwise and network meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. British Journal of Sports Medicine, accessed online 3 August 2023.)