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Resistance training similar to aerobics for lower blood pressure, artery health

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Exercise and Fitness

Resistance training is found to benefit the heart and lower blood pressure, similar to aerobics.

In a study, researchers in the College of Health Sciences’ Department of Health, Leisure and Exercise Science at Appalachian State University found moderate intensity resistance exercises produced a 20 percent reduction in blood pressure 45 minutes after exercises were performed.

Researchers discovered resistance training's positive effect on blood pressure and artery health is similar to performing aerobic exercise.

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Dr. Scott Collier, lead investigator of the study published in the October 2010 Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research says, “Aerobic exercise is the American Heart Association’s preferred exercise for decreasing cardiovascular risk. However, there are a lot of people with orthopedic or obesity limitations who can’t walk or run long distances. For them, that type of exercise would be contraindicated."

Collier studied the effect of resistance training on artery health from the type of machines found in most fitness centers. He says blood pressure was lowered as much as 20 percent, findings that are comparable, if not better than, some blood pressure medications, but without the side effects.

The effects of resistance training lasted as much as 24 hours and occurred within 45 minutes from improved blood flow and elasticity to the arteries. Collier says the findings are important and show aerobic exercise is not the only way to obtain heart healthy benefits of lower blood pressure. For individuals with physical limitations, resistance training can improve cardiovascular health, shown in the study.

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research:
October 2010 - Volume 24 - Issue 10 - pp 2846-2852
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181e840e0

This page is updated on April 18, 2013.