5-Minute Breathing Exercise Lowers Blood Pressure as Much as Exercise or Drugs

A new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association demonstrates the strongest evidence to date that a breathing workout known as high‐resistance inspiratory muscle strength training (IMST) can help lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health in adults.

Researchers performed a double-blind, randomized, sham-controlled trial to investigate the effects of six weeks of IMST (30 breaths/day, six days/week) on blood pressure, endothelial function, and arterial stiffness in midlife/older adults (aged 50–79 years) with systolic blood pressure higher than 120 mm Hg. For the study, 36 participants practiced either high-intensity IMST or low-intensity sham training, and researchers documented the results.

IMST was shown to have beneficial effects across a range of biomarkers, including systolic blood pressure and brachial artery flow‐mediated dilation.

The study concludes that high‐resistance IMST is a safe, highly adherable lifestyle intervention for improving blood pressure and endothelial function in midlife/older adults with above‐normal initial systolic blood pressure.

Read the study online at https://doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.121.020980.

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