A short breathing workout can lower blood pressure

A short breathing workout can lower blood pressure

With just five minutes of effort per day, you can have lower blood pressure within weeks. Sound too good to be true? It’s not. In fact, newly published research confirms the technique’s effectiveness.

Known as high-resistance inspiratory muscle strength training, the regimen improves measures of vascular health just as well as aerobic exercise or medication.

That’s the key message from University of Colorado researchers, who published their findings in the Journal of the American Heart Association. The results support the idea that the targeted exercise could fend off one of the nation’s leading killers — cardiovascular disease.

Simply put, the technique is strength training for your breathing muscles. It was developed in the 1980s as a way to help respiratory patients strengthen their lungs. So how does it work? The exercise involves inhaling through a handheld device that provides resistance.

To establish their findings, the scientists recruited healthy adults between the ages of 50 and 79 with normal blood pressure. Half of the group did the high-resistance training for six weeks. The other group did a control test with lower resistance.

After six weeks, those in the training group saw their systolic [səˈstälik] blood pressure drop nine points on average. That’s the first number in a blood pressure reading, which measures artery pressure when the heart beats. The blood pressure improvement is similar to the effect achieved by walking 30 minutes a day five days a week.

If you’re interested in trying the technique, consult a doctor. This kind of strength training may not get you buff, but it can make a positive change in your blood pressure.

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