According to a recent study, strength training for your breathing muscles just 5 minutes every day lowers blood pressure and improves your heart health at least as good as medication and much higher as aerobic exercise.
This training, which is officially called “High-Resistance Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training” (IMST), consists of 30 inhalations per day at high resistance, 6 days per week and can be done in your own home while you watch TV or listening to a podcast.
The study showed that after 6 weeks of IMST, the top number of the blood pressure (systolic blood pressure) of the participants aged 50-79 years old, drops by 9 points on average. Just to compare, less results could be achieved by walking 30 minutes a day 5 days a week or taking some blood pressure-lowering medication. What was even more exciting is that after stop doing IMST, the participants were able to maintain the achieved improvement of their blood pressure.
The other health benefits of IMST count an improvement of the ability of arteries to expand upon stimulation (in other words, the vascular endothelial function) by 45%; a significant increase in levels of nitric oxide, a molecule that helps prevent plaque buildup; and lower levels of inflammation and oxidative stress, which are our biggest health enemies while getting older.
The researchers also investigated whether IMST could improve other aspects of our health. The preliminary results suggest IMST also could lead to better function of our brain and even sport performance.
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