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Hand contractions lower blood pressure

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HAMILTON, Ontario, Oct 14, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Canadian researchers have determined in two studies an 8-week regimen of doing isometric handgrip contractions lowers high blood pressure.

The studies were done by the McMaster University's Department of Kinesiology in Hamilton, Ontario, and involved participants doing the contractions three times a week for eight weeks.

"Hypertension is associated with hardening of the arteries and development of cardiovascular disease," said Maureen MacDonald, the supervising professor for both studies.

The studies looked at whether the flexibility of arteries and the function of blood vessels were factors in reducing blood pressure in people taking anti-hypertensive medication.

After the eight-week IHG exercise regimen, blood pressure decreased significantly, while the artery's capacity to dilate increased. Improved capacity to dilate in a cardiac artery results in improvements in blood flow to the heart muscle.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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