You’re going to want to sit down for this one.
A study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found that isometric exercises may help reduce blood pressure more effectively than other type of exercise.
Isometric exercises are low-impact exercises that work to build muscular strength and endurance as the muscles tighten or contract while being held frozen in a steady position for short amounts of time.
That means holding one position — specifically a wall sit — is actually better at lowering one’s blood pressure than running, cycling and other forms of cardio.
The analysis found that about eight minutes of isometric exercise, three times a week, can lead to a healthy reduction in blood pressure.
And you don’t need to attempt anything too intimidating. You can start with just taking a seat — but an invisible one.
A wall sit, or simply holding a seated position against a wall, was found to be the most effective exercise for lowering one’s blood pressure.
A regular isometric routine of wall sits — holding for two minutes, resting for two minutes and repeating that four times — lowered systolic blood pressure by 10 mmHg and diastolic pressure by 5 mmHg, according to the research.
“Our main message is that actually engaging in exercise is fantastic and any exercise might reduce your blood pressure,” Jamie O’Driscoll, the senior author of the study, told the Washington Post.
Isometric exercises in general lower blood pressure most efficiently because contracting a muscle and holding the position temporarily reduces blood flow to that muscle, which then prompts blood vessels to relax easing blood flow, effectively reducing blood pressure, researchers explained.
To complete a wall sit, stand a few steps away from a wall with your feet hip width apart. Lean your back straight against the wall and slide down as far as you can go, aiming for your knees to be at a 90-degree angle.
Experts advise beginning to hold the position as close to a full squat for as long as possible and slowly building up from there. As you progress, slide down the wall and stay seated for longer to build up to being able to hold a fully seated position for two minutes.
The best part, according to O’Driscoll, is that adding this simple exercise into your daily life might just be better than medicine.
“If you’re an individual who is currently exercising to the guidelines and you’re still having a bit of difficulty reducing that blood pressure and you want to avoid going on medication, perhaps isometrics is an additional mode to complement the exercise you’re already doing,” he explained.
Another great way for those looking to add isometric exercises beyond wall sits to their fitness routine is to check out wall Pilates.
Anyone can do it, which is why everyone is, or at least so it seems. #WallPilates boasts 12 million views on TikTok, as people ditch intense regimes and expensive classes for increasingly popular lazy girl workouts.