Herrod PJJ; Blackwell JEM; Moss BF; Gates A; Atherton PJ; Lund JN; Williams JP; Phillips BE;
European Journal Of Applied Physiology [Eur J Appl Physiol] 2019 Mar; Vol. 119 (3), pp. 645-652. Date of Electronic Publication: 2018 Dec 27.
Purpose: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide. Many risk factors for CVD can be modified pharmacologically; however, uptake of medications is low, especially in asymptomatic people. Exercise is also effective at reducing CVD risk, but adoption is poor with time-commitment and cost cited as key reasons for this. Repeated remote ischaemic preconditioning (RIPC) and isometric handgrip (IHG) training are both inexpensive, time-efficient interventions which have shown some promise in reducing blood pressure (BP) and improving markers of cardiovascular health and fitness. However, few studies have investigated the effectiveness of these interventions in premenopausal women.
Method: Thirty healthy females were recruited to twelve supervised sessions of either RIPC or IHG over 4 weeks, or acted as non-intervention controls (CON). BP measurements, flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) and cardiopulmonary exercise tests (CPET) were performed at baseline and after the intervention period.
Results: IHG and RIPC were both well-tolerated with 100% adherence to all sessions. A statistically significant reduction in both systolic (- 7.2 mmHg) and diastolic (- 6 mmHg) BP was demonstrated following IHG, with no change following RIPC. No statistically significant improvements were observed in FMD or CPET parameters in any group.
Conclusions: IHG is an inexpensive and well-tolerated intervention which may improve BP; a key risk factor for CVD. Conversely, our single arm RIPC protocol, despite being similarly well-tolerated, did not elicit improvements in any cardiorespiratory parameters in our chosen population.