Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name





Age, Blood Pressure, Handgrip, Isometric, Reactivity, Women


K. Milne


C. McGowan




The World Health Organization has identified hypertension (HTN) as a global health crisis and emphasizes primary prevention as the key to mitigating HTN-related morbidity and mortality. Hypertension Canada and the American Heart Association promote isometric handgrip (IHG) exercise as an adjuvant therapy for controlling blood pressure (BP). Coupling IHG training with a method for identifying responders to this intervention would strengthen its use as a tool for the primary prevention of HTN. The aim of this prospective study was to determine whether systolic BP reactivity to a stress task (i.e. IHG task, IHGT; serial subtraction task, SST) is predictive of IHG training-induced BP adaptations in both young and older normotensive women. Following 10 weeks of IHG training, significant and equal reductions in resting systolic BP were observed in both young (n = 7) and older women (n = 7, P < 0.05). Concomitant reductions in 24 hour and daytime ambulatory systolic BP were also observed in both cohorts (n = 5 older, n = 7 young, P < 0.05). Systolic BP reactivity to the IHGT, but not the SST, was predictive of 24 hour ambulatory systolic BP reductions in older women only (n = 5, P < 0.05). These findings support the use of IHG training as a primary HTN prevention tool in both young and older normotensive women. Moreover, although preliminary, these findings suggest that systolic BP reactivity to an IHGT may be used to identify responders to IHG training for the purpose of prescribing IHG exercise in older women.