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Lowering blood pressure at home: Simple exercises backed by science

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a silent but dangerous condition affecting millions of people worldwide. If left uncontrolled, it can significantly increase your risk of heart attack, stroke and other serious health problems. While medication is often a crucial part of treatment, making lifestyle changes is equally important. Excitingly, recent research reveals that you can actively bring your blood pressure down with specific, easy-to-do exercises. And no, we do not mean walking, running or cycling.

As a wearable tech blog, we’re committed to showing how technology can improve your health. Connected blood pressure monitors make it easy to track this important health metric at home. Pretty soon, smartwatches will be doing this as well. But knowing your numbers is only the first step towards managing blood pressure. If your readings are worrisome, this article explores simple, at-home techniques to help lower your blood pressure naturally.

Isomoteric exercises to lower blood pressure

We all know that a healthy diet, regular exercise, weight management, and stress reduction are essential for managing blood pressure. However, a groundbreaking study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine indicates that a specific type of exercise – isometric exercise – might be a very effective way to lower your numbers.

The study analyzed data from 270 trials with over 15,000 participants and found that isometric exercises could reduce systolic blood pressure by as much as 8.24 mmHg and diastolic pressure by 4.00 mmHg, making it the most effective form of exercise for managing blood pressure according to the study.

Essential reading: Best fitness trackers and health gadgets

Isometric exercises involve contracting your muscles without movement. This type of exercise temporarily restricts blood flow to stimulate signals that relax your blood vessels and lower blood pressure when you release the pose.

Here are some isometric exercises you can incorporate into your routine:

  • The Wall Sit challenge: Stand with your back against a wall and slide down until your knees form a 90-degree angle. Hold for as long as comfortable, aiming for 2 minutes. Rest and repeat several times.
  • The power of planks: Get into a push-up position, supporting your body on your forearms and toes. Keep your back straight and core engaged. Hold for as long as you can with good form, aiming for at least 30 seconds. Rest and repeat a few times.

Breathing exercises to lower blood pressure

Additionally, specific breathing techniques can work in tandem with these exercises to reduce blood pressure further. This is according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Breathing techniques can effectively lower blood pressure by calming the nervous system, reducing stress, and promoting relaxation.

Here are some of the most beneficial methods:

  • 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise: This simple but powerful technique involves inhaling for 4 seconds, holding your breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds. Studies suggest that regular practice of the 4-7-8 method can be as beneficial as moderate exercise for managing blood pressure.
  • Sama Vritti (Equal Breathing): Focus on taking equal counts when inhaling, holding, and exhaling your breath (for example, four counts each). This balanced breathing technique helps regulate the autonomic nervous system and lower blood pressure. It’s particularly helpful for stress reduction and better sleep.
  • 30-Second Breathing: The Japanese Society of Hypertension recommends taking six deep, controlled breaths within 30 seconds for a quick blood pressure reduction. This method is easy to practice anywhere, even during times of sudden stress.
  • Diaphragmatic Breathing: Engage your diaphragm (the muscle below your lungs) by breathing deeply into your belly. This promotes optimal oxygen exchange, reduces strain on your heart, and can lead to lower blood pressure with regular practice.

Remember – consistency is key! Incorporate these breathing exercises into your daily routine for the best results in managing your blood pressure.

Important considerations

It’s crucial to remember that consistency is key for optimal results with these home tests. Integrate them into your daily routine for the best effects. Furthermore, always consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise program, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking blood pressure medication.

Of course, these home tests are meant to complement your prescribed treatment plan, not replace it. That should go without saying.

Empowering yourself for heart health

By incorporating these simple isometric exercises and breathing techniques into your lifestyle, along with healthy eating habits and regular physical activity, you can take significant control of your blood pressure. These home tests offer an accessible and empowering way to support your cardiovascular health and reduce your risk of serious health complications down the road.

To gain further insight into your blood pressure patterns, consider using a smart blood pressure monitor. These devices make tracking your progress easy.

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Marko Maslakovic

Marko founded Gadgets & Wearables in 2014, having worked for more than 15 years in the City of London’s financial district. Since then, he has led the company’s charge to become a leading information source on health and fitness gadgets and wearables.

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