A five-minute breathing exercise that you can do while watching television can lower your blood pressure just as much as medication, according to a new small study.
Described as “strength training for your respiratory muscles”, it uses a hand-held medical device that provides resistance when a person inhales through a tube. Researchers say it can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in older adults – and may also help athletes run faster marathons.
High-Resistance Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training (IMST) is intended to be performed in reps as high-intensity interval training, with faster, higher resistance breathing leading to “improvements in cardiovascular, cognitive, and athletic performance.”
The technique could be even more effective at lowering blood pressure than running, especially in postmenopausal women.
Professor Doug Seals at the University of Colorado Boulder hailed it as an easy and drug-free solution.
Developed in the 1980s for respiratory diseases to help patients strengthen their diaphragm and other breathing muscles, treatment was prescribed for 30 minutes per day. Day at low resistance.
But inspired by HIIT, researchers now believe that 30 breaths a day at high resistance, six days a week, can reap many benefits.
The study, published in Journal of the American Heart Association, recruited 36 healthy adults aged 50 to 79 with above-normal blood pressure with half doing high resistance IMST for six weeks and the others doing a placebo where resistance was much lower.
Even six weeks after they stopped making IMST, they maintained most of that improvement.
The treatment group also experienced a 45% improvement in vascular endothelial function or the ability of arteries to expand after stimulation and a significant increase in nitric oxide levels, a molecular key to dilate arteries and prevent plaque buildup. Nitric oxide levels naturally decrease with age.
The IMST group saw their systolic blood pressure drop by an average of nine points, a reduction generally exceeding that achieved by walking 30 minutes a day five days a week.
This decrease is also equal to the effects of some blood pressure lowering drugs.
“We found that not only is it more time-efficient than traditional training programs, but the benefits can also be long-lasting,” said lead author Dr. Daniel Craighead at UC Boulder. “If aerobic exercise does not improve this central goal of cardiovascular health for postmenopausal women, they need another lifestyle intervention that will. It can be that. ”
Craighead, who uses IMST for his own aerobic exercise, added: “It’s easy to do, it does not take long and we think it has great potential to help many people.”
Yes, having some form of therapy available that lowers blood pressure without medication or engages in aerobic exercise that so many people tend to dislike would be a good option.
The National Institutes of Health recently awarded Seals $ 4 million to start a larger follow-up study of about 100 people who compared a 12-week IMST protocol head-to-head with aerobic exercise.
In the meantime is research group is under development a smartphone app that allows people to perform the protocol at home using already commercially available devices.
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