A recent study shows that a simple five-minute breathing exercise can reduce blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health. The exercise is called inspiratory muscle strength training (IMST), and involves using resistance while inhaling and exhaling. It only requires five minutes of exercise a day, and results are comparable to those of medication and typical exercise. For these reasons, IMST may be the perfect solution for people suffering from high blood pressure.
The benefits of this breathing exercise are numerous. It works the breathing muscles by activating the parasympathetic nervous system. This part of the brain reduces the heart rate and dilates blood vessels, reducing blood pressure. Additionally, it trains the body to respond calmly during stressful situations. In addition to lowering blood pressure, breathing deeply can improve the condition of your heart and improve your mental health.
This study was conducted on 36 healthy adult subjects who had high blood pressure. The participants were generally in good health, but were diagnosed with high blood pressure. The participants performed a series of thirty-second breaths with an IMST device, six days a week. They were randomly assigned to either a high-resistance or low-resistance breathing regimen. The results of this study showed that IMST reduced systolic blood pressure by nine points. The researchers also noted that the IMST regimen was more effective than traditional exercise programs, and the participants were able to complete the program almost immediately.
One study found that this breathing exercise can lower SBP by reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 30 percent. Further, it was also found that the IMST participants experienced significant improvements in vascular endothelial function, which suggests improved artery health. In addition, the IMST participants’ markers of systemic inflammation also decreased. The researchers believe that the breathing exercise triggers the cells that line blood vessels to produce more nitric oxide. Nitric oxide relaxes muscles and improves blood flow.