JOURNAL ARTICLE

Isometric handgrip does not elicit cardiovascular overload or post-exercise hypotension in hypertensive older women

Rafael dos Reis Vieira Olher, Danilo Sales Bocalini, Reury Frank Bacurau, Daniel Rodriguez, Aylton Figueira, Francisco Luciano Pontes, Francisco Navarro, Herbert Gustavo Simões, Ronaldo Carvalho Araujo, Milton Rocha Moraes
Clinical Interventions in Aging 2013, 8: 649-55
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BACKGROUND: Arterial hypertension is a serious health problem affecting mainly the elderly population. Recent studies have considered both aerobic and resistance exercises as a non-pharmacological aid for arterial hypertension treatment. However, the cardiovascular responses of the elderly to isometric resistance exercise (eg, isometric handgrip [IHG]) have not yet been documented.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to investigate cardiovascular responses to different intensities of isometric exercise, as well as the occurrence of post-isometric exercise hypotension in hypertensive elderly people under antihypertensive medication treatment.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Twelve women volunteered to participate in the study after a maximal voluntary contraction test (MVC) and standardization of the intervention workload consisting of two sessions of IHG exercise performed in four sets of five contractions of a 10-second duration. Sessions were performed both at 30% of the MVC and 50% of the MVC, using a unilateral IHG protocol. Both intensities were compared with a control session without exercise. Systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) at rest (R), during peak exercise (PE), and after 5, 10, 15, 30, 45, and 60 minutes of post-exercise recovery were evaluated.

RESULTS: No significant changes were observed after isometric exercise corresponding to 30% MVC for either SBP (R: 121 ± 10; PE: 127 ± 14; 5 min: 125 ± 13; 10 min: 123 ± 12; 15 min: 122 ± 11; 30 min: 124 ± 11; 45 min: 124 ± 10; 60 min: 121 ± 10 mmHg) or DBP (R: 74 ± 9; PE: 76 ± 6; 5 min: 74 ± 5; 10 min: 72 ± 8; 15 min: 72 ± 5; 30 min: 72 ± 8; 45 min: 73 ± 6; 60 min: 75 ± 7 mmHg). Similarly, the 50% MVC did not promote post-isometric exercise hypotension for either SBP (R: 120 ± 7; PE: 125 ± 11; 5 min: 120 ± 9; 10 min: 122 ± 9; 15 min: 121 ± 11; 30 min: 121 ± 9; 45 min: 121 ± 9; 60 min: 120 ± 7 mmHg) or DBP (R: 72 ± 8; PE: 78 ± 7; 5 min: 72 ± 7; 10 min: 72 ± 8; 15 min: 71 ± 7; 30 min: 72 ± 8; 45 min: 75 ± 10; 60 min: 75 ± 7 mmHg).

CONCLUSION: Our data reveal that cardiovascular overload or post-exercise hypotension did not occur in elderly women with controlled hypertension when they undertook an IHG session. Thus this type of resistance exercise, with mild to moderate intensity, with short time of contraction appears to be safe for this population.

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