Newswise — Exercise – it will cure what ails you, or at least some of the most common ailments.

Research conducted in the College of Health Sciences’ Department of Health, Leisure and Exercise Science at Appalachian State University has shown that resistance training has some similar effects as aerobic exercise in lowering a person’s blood pressure.

Dr. Scott Collier was the lead investigator of the study published in the October 2010 Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. The study is part of the growing body of research being conducted at Appalachian on the effects of exercise, supplements and health.

Collier looked at changes that occurred to arteries and blood flow following 45 minutes of moderate intensity resistance exercise using machines like those typically found in fitness centers.

He found that the resistance training resulted in as much as a 20 percent decrease in a person’s blood pressure, which is as good as or better than the benefit of taking anti-hypertensive medication. “And exercise has no adverse side effects,” Collier said.

“Resistance exercise increases blood flow which reduces blood pressure,” he said. The findings are significant, he explained, because it shows that aerobic exercise isn’t the only way a person can improve their cardiovascular health.

“Aerobic exercise is the American Heart Association’s preferred exercise for decreasing cardiovascular risk,” Collier said. “However, there are a lot of people with orthopedic or obesity limitations who can’t walk or run long distances. For them, that type of exercise would be contraindicated.” he said.

He found that the beneficial effects of resistance training continued about 30 minutes after the exercise had ended and as long as 24 hours in individuals who trained for 30-45 minutes three times a week.

Collier said women who use resistance training to lower their blood pressure gain additional benefits. “Resistance training also helps protect against or treat osteoporosis,” he said. “Any exercise is good. But if you can’t do aerobic exercise, resistance exercise can help decrease blood pressure and increase metabolism as well as provide social and psychological benefits”.

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Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research