Ultra-Time-Efficient Breath Exercise Lowers Blood Pressure, Boosts Brain Function
New research shows that a five-minute breathing workout lowers blood pressure and heart attack risk, enhances sports performance and boosts brain power- all while barely having to move.
I love things that offer a high use and benefits ration to amount of investment of time or money. Like the robot vacuum, and my phone come to mind. For the amount I paid, I get an insane amount of use out of these things.
For a similar ratio to spend less time and energy for more results, I'm a huge fan of this breathing workout called 'Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training' (IMST). To buy the needed device will only set you back around $20, you can do it at home or in the office, and it takes only about five minutes to do.
For a small investment of time you get a powerful internal workout with highly compelling science-backed benefits.
This handheld device is a breath trainer, a simple device with a controllable valve at one end which restricts airflow. When you inhale through it, it acts as strength-training for the muscles you breathe in with.
IMST was originally developed in the 1980s as a way to help wean critically ill people off ventilators and boost their lung capacity. But that protocol took 30 minutes to do, and patients would soon give up the practice.
But in 2016, a team of researchers from the University of Arizona wanted to see if it could be done faster so the compliance would go up. They conducted a 6-week trial to see if just 30 inhalations per day with greater resistance might help sufferers of obstructive sleep apnea, who tend to have weak breathing muscles.
They discovered that the addition of greater resistance in a shorter duration delivered more benefits than they were expecting to find. Patients slept better and interestingly, after six weeks of
practice, their systolic blood pressure dropped twice as much of a decrease as what anyone could get out of vigorous aerobic exercise, and even more than what many blood pressure medications deliver. The patients also performed better on certain cognitive and memory tests and when asked to exercise to exhaustion, participants were also able to stay on the treadmill longer and keep their heart rate and oxygen consumption lower during exercise. Because high blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which is one of the highest causes of death around the world, having a simple tool which takes little time to use could be a major victory for health. I use this breath trainer daily in the morning along with my other practice and it feels amazing. You can pick up a breathing trainer on the net- a simple one will do fine. Set the resistance level to the right amount of challenge for you. At first, I suggest that you set a timer for five minutes (it takes me around 4 minutes). Take vigorous, powerful inhalations and exhale freely out of the trainer. Keep going, one after another until you get to 30. That's it!