The efficacy of isometric handgrip training on arterial stiffness and blood pressure in elevated and stage 1 hypertensive individuals – An interventional study
Objectives: Hypertension is considered as a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Various forms of exercises are recommended for pre-hypertensive stage as a prevention measure. The objective of the study was to evaluate the effect of isometric hand grip resistance exercise on blood pressure (BP) and arterial stiffness in elevated and stage 1 hypertensive individuals.
Methods: In this interventional study, 50 pre-screened pre-hypertensive individuals participated in the isometric hand grip exercise training. Participants were instructed to follow 40% maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) with 3 sessions per week for 8weeks. BP and vascular indices namely reflection and stiffness indices were measured and compared before and after the exercise.
Results: 40 individuals participated in the program and were divided into two groups: Group I (n=21) with elevated BP and Group II (n=19) with stage 1 hypertension. Our study report indicates that the systolic BP was significantly decreased in both the groups (p<0.001) while diastolic BP decreased only among the elevated BP group (p=0.01). Vascular indices did not report any significant change in both groups. Systolic (p=p<0.001), diastolic (p=0.03), pulse pressure (p=0.001) and mean arterial pressure (p<0.001) were significantly reduced when both the groups were taken together for the analysis. Heart rate was significantly positive correlation with the vascular indices (p<0.001), similarly, diastolic BP was significantly positively correlated with stiffness index (p<0.001).
Conclusion: Isometric hand grip exercise with 40% MVC with 3 sessions per week for 8weeks is effective in reducing the BP levels but has no effect on the arterial stiffness. Thus, this form of exercise can be recommended for the young pre-hypertensives.