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isometric hand exercise and systolic blood pressure



 
 
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  #1  
Old July 30th 04, 11:33 AM
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Default isometric hand exercise and systolic blood pressure

ALTERNATIVES, August 2004, Vol 10, No. 14, pp. 107-108.


Hands-On Blood Prcssure Fix

HAMILTON, ONTARIO, CANADA--A research kinesiologist has discovered a
novel method which you can use to help lower your blood pressure.

Dr. Nell McCartney at McMaster University found that isometric hand
exercise can significantly lower systolic blood pressure in older
patients.

Dr. McCartney's study involved 18 patients, aver*age age of 67.5, with
chronic high blood pressure. Most of the patients had been on high
blood pres*sure medication for an average of 9 years, and their blood
pressures had leveled out at about 140 mm Hg systolic and 85 mm Hg
diastolic. Half performed the exercise and the other half did not.

Using a gripping device that could measure 30 percent of each
individual's maximum grip, subjects applied continuous pressure for
one minute and then relaxed for a minute, then held the pressure again
con*tinuously for one minute. This sequence was repeated four times,
three days a week, for ten weeks.

At the end of ten weeks, those performing the exer*cise experienced an
average 19 mm Hg drop in systolic blood pressure compared to no drop
in those not doing the exercise. A 19-point drop in blood pressure
after such a simple exercise is amazing. Remember, these are
individuals who had already been using medication to lower their blood
pressure for an average of nine years. (Med Sci Sport Exerc
03;35(2):251-6)

The only difficulty I see with performing this exercise at home would
be determining and maintaining only 30 percent of your maximum grip.
The researchers utilized what is called a hand dynamometer. It can be
used to measure your grip strength, and can also be used to do the
above exercise. Just squeeze it as hard as you can, note that
pressure, then multiply that number by 0.30 to get your target
pressure.

Unfortunately, devices like these can cost more than $200. A
dynamometer of this type can be purchased on the Internet from
www.wisdomking.com. One of the least expensive hydraulic models is
made by Baseline and measures up to 200 pounds of pressure, which is
more than adequate unless you're a professional arm wrestler, etc. ...

A less-expensive option than a hand dynamometer would be to purchase
an inexpensive pair of those spring-type hand grip strengtheners from
an athletic store. Just make sure the spring is stronger than you can
compress since you want to try and maintain a pressure of 30 percent
of your grip strength for one minute. This type of grip strengthener
can be purchased for less than $10. I need to mention that rubber
balls, etc. probably won't work. To be effective, your grip must be
fairly sustained and intense. An even better device is called the 6
Spring HandGrip Strengthener. It has 6 different springs that can be
added or removed to vary the tension. It sells for $13 from
www.sportsunlimited.com. . . . (Note: Actually, it's
sportsunlimitedinc.com)

Just exactly how this exercise reduces blood pressure isn't yet fully
understood. Dr. McCartney is using ultra Doppler sound waves to
evaluate the arteries during the exercise, and has found that it
apparently somehow activates the parasympathetic nervous sys*tem (the
"rest and digest" part of your nervous system) which decreases the
heart rate and blood pressure. It also appears that the exercise may
improve endothelial function. As we age, our arteries tend to become
more rigid, and the endothelial cells that line the arter*ies release
less nitric oxide (NO), a compound which helps relax and dilate the
blood vessels. Regardless of how this very simple exercise works, it's
an easy, almost fun way to help lower high blood pressure. If you need
to drop your blood pressure, give it a try.

Since I'm on the subject of grip strength, I'm sure there are many
people who might be hesitant or unable to do this exercise due to the
problem of carpal tun*nel syndrome. This involves inflammation of
tendons and nerve irritation within the small bony and fibrous tunnel
of the wrist. I've written about this problem in the 'past (Vol. 1,
No. 21), and in addition to increasing your vitamin B6 intake (to
between 50 and 150 milligrams a day) and seeing a chiropractor who can
adjust any misaligned bones in the wrist, strengthen*ing your forearm
and grip will help keep the problem from recurring. Another great tool
for arm and grip strengthening is a gyroscopic ball. The original
brand was called the Dynabee (or Therabee) and another version is the
DynaFlex Gyro Ball. Look for one in your local athletic goods store,
because you may have to have someone demonstrate how they work before
you buy one. They can do wonders for getting rid of wrist pain and
strengthening your grip and forearm. (I wouldn't recommend them for
use in reducing blood pressure however. It's a different mechanism, so
I have no idea if they'd give you the same effect.)

___________________________


It would be great if additional research confirms the efficacy of this
approach to treating hypertension! And we'd have to tweak the notion
that isometrics are always bad for people with high blood pressure.

The one part of Dr. Williams' article that I don't get is his
recommendation to use a spring gripper that's impossible to fully
compress in order to maintain a pressure of 30% of one's grip strength
for one minute.

If I wanted to try this, I'd test my grip max on my Ivanko
SuperGripper and then reset the spring positions to give me 30% of
that. This would be consistent with how to adjust the target pressure
using a hand dynamometer.







  #2  
Old July 31st 04, 12:08 AM
rev
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Posts: n/a
Default isometric hand exercise and systolic blood pressure

wrote in news:[email protected]
4ax.com:

ALTERNATIVES, August 2004, Vol 10, No. 14, pp. 107-108.


Hands-On Blood Prcssure Fix

HAMILTON, ONTARIO, CANADA--A research kinesiologist has discovered a
novel method which you can use to help lower your blood pressure.

Dr. Nell McCartney at McMaster University found that isometric hand
exercise can significantly lower systolic blood pressure in older
patients.

Dr. McCartney's study involved 18 patients, aver*age age of 67.5, with
chronic high blood pressure. Most of the patients had been on high
blood pres*sure medication for an average of 9 years, and their blood
pressures had leveled out at about 140 mm Hg systolic and 85 mm Hg
diastolic. Half performed the exercise and the other half did not.

snip

Just exactly how this exercise reduces blood pressure isn't yet fully
understood. Dr. McCartney is using ultra Doppler sound waves to
evaluate the arteries during the exercise, and has found that it
apparently somehow activates the parasympathetic nervous sys*tem (the
"rest and digest" part of your nervous system) which decreases the
heart rate and blood pressure. It also appears that the exercise may
improve endothelial function. As we age, our arteries tend to become
more rigid, and the endothelial cells that line the arter*ies release
less nitric oxide (NO), a compound which helps relax and dilate the
blood vessels. Regardless of how this very simple exercise works, it's
an easy, almost fun way to help lower high blood pressure. If you need
to drop your blood pressure, give it a try.



snip

In China they use steel balls for as long as people can recall (I am told).
Essentially its 2 steel balls that are held in the palm and fingers and
rotated slowly. the exercise looks very mild but after a while you can
really work up a sweat. The older Chinese swear by it as a cardiovascular
improver. Might be based on the same principle.

Bob
  #3  
Old July 31st 04, 12:47 AM
John HUDSON
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Posts: n/a
Default isometric hand exercise and systolic blood pressure

On 31 Jul 2004 08:58:46 +0950, rev wrote:

wrote in news:[email protected]
4ax.com:

ALTERNATIVES, August 2004, Vol 10, No. 14, pp. 107-108.


Hands-On Blood Prcssure Fix

HAMILTON, ONTARIO, CANADA--A research kinesiologist has discovered a
novel method which you can use to help lower your blood pressure.

Dr. Nell McCartney at McMaster University found that isometric hand
exercise can significantly lower systolic blood pressure in older
patients.

Dr. McCartney's study involved 18 patients, aver*age age of 67.5, with
chronic high blood pressure. Most of the patients had been on high
blood pres*sure medication for an average of 9 years, and their blood
pressures had leveled out at about 140 mm Hg systolic and 85 mm Hg
diastolic. Half performed the exercise and the other half did not.

snip

Just exactly how this exercise reduces blood pressure isn't yet fully
understood. Dr. McCartney is using ultra Doppler sound waves to
evaluate the arteries during the exercise, and has found that it
apparently somehow activates the parasympathetic nervous sys*tem (the
"rest and digest" part of your nervous system) which decreases the
heart rate and blood pressure. It also appears that the exercise may
improve endothelial function. As we age, our arteries tend to become
more rigid, and the endothelial cells that line the arter*ies release
less nitric oxide (NO), a compound which helps relax and dilate the
blood vessels. Regardless of how this very simple exercise works, it's
an easy, almost fun way to help lower high blood pressure. If you need
to drop your blood pressure, give it a try.



snip

In China they use steel balls for as long as people can recall (I am told).
Essentially its 2 steel balls that are held in the palm and fingers and
rotated slowly. the exercise looks very mild but after a while you can
really work up a sweat. The older Chinese swear by it as a cardiovascular
improver. Might be based on the same principle.


I have such a 'toy' and while "working up a sweat" might be a trifle
fanciful Bob, they certainly play hell with the flexors and extensors
of the fingers!

Have a good weekend - I intend to!! ;o)

 




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