Getting a grip on
by Copley News Service
Researchers at McMaster University's Department of Kinesiology in Hamilton, Ontario, demonstrated that doing isometric handgrip contractions three times a week for eight weeks led to lower blood pressure in people who were already prescribed medication for high blood pressure, or hypertension.
Researchers looked at whether the flexibility of arteries and the function of blood vessels, both of which improve after isometric handgrip exercises, were factors in reducing blood pressure in people taking medications to combat hypertension. Results showed that following eight weeks of handgrip training, blood pressure decreased significantly, suggesting handgrip exercises improve cardiovascular function.
In one of two studies, researchers looked at whether the ability of arteries to stretch contributes to lower resting blood pressure. Following eight weeks of handgrip training, the flexibility of the carotid artery improved substantially, while blood pressure decreased significantly.
"Hypertension is associated with hardening of the arteries and development of cardiovascular disease," said Maureen MacDonald, the supervising professor for both studies at McMaster.