As you know, high blood pressure can become a dangerous condition. Your doctor might have already warned you that you should begin taking measures to lower your blood pressure, such as with dietary changes or a a weight loss plan. But it turns out that a simple breathing exercise can also be effective when performed regularly.
Recently, a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association detailed a special, five-minute breathing exercise that was found effective at lowering blood pressure. This exercise, called high-resistance inspiratory muscle strength training (IMST), works as a sort of strength training for your breathing muscles. But as it turns out, doing this exercise can lower your blood pressure and protect you from the risk of cardiovascular disease.
In fact, the study results showed that IMST works about as well as exercise! Of course, that doesn’t mean you should skip your workouts. Exercise is important to maintaining a healthy weight and supports a weight loss plan, if you’re on one.
So how do you perform IMST? In the study, participants used a handheld device called the POWERbreathe K3. For about five minutes per day, they took powerfully deep breaths, inhaling air against 90 centimeters of water resistance. Participants did this 30 times in a row, for six days per week.
At the end of the study, participants saw an average drop of 9 points in their systolic blood pressure. These results stack up against studies in which participants exercise for 30 minutes per day, five days per week!
Participants also earned lowered markers of inflammation and oxidative stress, along with an improvement in vascular endothelial function. The IMST exercise functioned as a workout for the lungs and heart, even while participants sat still.
If you want to try this type of breathing, talk to your regular doctor first before embarking on a quest to lower your blood pressure. Keep in mind that IMST is not a substitute for your blood pressure medications or weight loss plan, nor should you give up exercise which is good for you in other ways. But if you want to try an extra measure to get your blood pressure under control, IMST could work for you.