Study Reveals a Breathing Exercise That Lowers Your Blood Pressure
What if we told you that you can reduce your blood pressure by just… breathing! It sounds too good to be true, but a study released by the Journal of the American Heart Association shares compelling evidence for a practice called High-Resistance Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training (IMST).
As people age, they have a higher chance of developing high blood pressure which, in turn, increases your risk of cardiovascular disease. There are ways to treat and prevent high blood pressure or maintain a healthy blood pressure, but some are costly medications and doctor visits that not everyone easy has access to. The study done on IMST allows for a 5-minute breathing exercise that everyone can do.
IMST is not a new development. It was created in the 1980s to help chronically ill patients strengthen their diaphragm and other breathing muscles. It involves breathing into a device that provides resistance – kind of like breathing into a clogged straw.
The study consisted of 36 adults between the ages of 50 and 79 years old that were in good health other than high blood pressure. Half of the participants did IMST for 6 weeks, and the other half (unknowingly) did IMST with a lower resistance. The results were incredible! Those that did the standard resistance IMST saw their blood pressure drop an average of 9 points in just 6 weeks. That is a better result than that achieved by those who walk 30 minutes a day. No drugs needed!
The participants also saw improvements in their arteries; with stimulation and an increase in nitric oxide – a molecule that helps fight plaque buildup in the blood stream that otherwise typically decreases with age.
What Does This Mean?
The results from this study may direct future high blood pressure treatment. This is an accessible means for people of all ages to fight high blood pressure and decrease their risk of developing cardiovascular disease. It is an easy practice that anybody can fit in to their daily routine. Of course, this does not mean that you should reduce your exercise or liberalize your diet. Those are both important parts of cardiovascular health. More studies on this technique are in the works, but – from what we have seen so far – this is a huge step for cardiovascular health.