This lung training lowers high blood pressure and protects the heart

Lung training improves physical performance and thinking ability

Can you train your body and mind with breathing exercises in five minutes a day without lifting a single weight or moving a step and still reducing the risk of heart attack, improving your ability to think and increasing your athletic performance? With the so-called Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training, this actually seems to be possible.

A recent study by the University of Colorado Boulder found that inspiratory muscle strength training leads to many health benefits for the body and mind.

What is Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training?

The so-called Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training (IMST) is extremely time-saving exercises, which are nevertheless healthy for body and mind. "It's basically strength training for the muscles you breathe in," study author Daniel Craighead of the University of Colorado Boulder said in a press release. You can do this exercise quickly at home or in the office without having to change. The exercise appears to lower blood pressure and may even increase cognitive and physical performance, Craighead adds.

How does the Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training work?

The Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training was developed in the 1980s to wean sick people from ventilators. It requires vigorous inhalation through a special device called an inspiratory muscle trainer that creates resistance to breathing. It is comparable to the strong suction on a straw, but the straw sucks back, the researchers explain.

Training improved sleep and lowered systolic blood pressure

During early use in patients with lung disease, participants performed low-resistance therapy for 30 minutes every day to increase their lung capacity. In 2016, researchers from the University of Arizona published results from a study that only 30 inhalations per day with greater resistance can contribute to improved sleep in patients with obstructive sleep apnea. People with obstructive sleep apnea tend to have weak breathing muscles. In addition to a more restful sleep and the development of a stronger diaphragm and other inspiratory muscles, the participants showed an unexpected side effect after six weeks: their systolic blood pressure dropped by 12 mmHg (millimeters of mercury).

The systolic blood pressure, which indicates the pressure in the vessels when the heart beats, naturally increases with increasing age of the arteries, which leads to blood vessel damage and an increased risk of heart attack, cognitive decline and kidney damage. Other studies have shown that 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day lowers blood pressure. However, according to government estimates, only about five percent of adults meet this requirement. Meanwhile, 65 percent of middle-aged people have high systolic blood pressure, the study's authors report.

More research is needed

"Our goal is to develop time-efficient, evidence-based interventions that busy middle-aged adults will actually perform," said Professor Doug Seals of the University of Colorado Boulder. In about half of the tests performed, researchers found significant drops in blood pressure and improvements in the function of the large arteries in those who had undergone inspiratory muscle strength training. The people in the group with the Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training also performed better on certain cognitive tasks and memory tests. These participants were also able to spend a long time on a treadmill and their heart rate and oxygen consumption during exercise were lower. The researchers suspect that by improving the functioning of their respiratory muscles, these people do not need as much blood and that the blood can be better distributed to the legs so that people can exercise longer. Some cyclists and runners are already using commercially available inspiratory muscle trainers to gain a competitive advantage. However, Seals and Craighead emphasize that their results are preliminary and that more research is needed. (as)

Author and source information

Video: Exercise Your Way to Lower Blood Pressure (January 2022).