Isometric Handgrip Effects on Hypertension
Philip J. Millar,
Hypertension is estimated to affect 1 billion people worldwide, and is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. The management of high blood pressure focuses on lifestyle modifications (i.e. diet, exercise, smoking cessation) and drug therapies. Despite these strategies, many patients are still unable to maintain or control their blood pressure within desired levels. Recent research has identified isometric handgrip (IHG) training as a potential therapeutic modality. Results demonstrate a hypotensive effect of IHG training in medicated and unmedicated patients. This novel therapy may be efficacious based on low associated costs and time requirements (33 min/week). The mechanisms coupled with the attenuations in resting blood pressure remain contentious. However, recent evidence has begun to suggest that beneficial modulation of the autonomic nervous system is responsible for the positive changes in blood pressure. While further IHG research is required, the prospect of a novel non-pharmacological therapy for hypertension has major public health implications. This review will summarize the previous literature, discuss future research directions, and describe clinical significance.
Keywords: Blood pressure, hypertension, isometric exercise
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