Post Mortem

5-min breathing 'workout' for brain and heart health

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 4/12/2019 12:33:15 PM IST

 Preliminary research reveals that a technique called Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training can boost cognitive and physical performance, as well as cardiovascular health.

New research adds another tool in the toolbox for preventing high blood pressure. Most of us know that exercising and eating right are good for us. However, putting in the effort to do so can often require more willpower than we have.

What if there was a way to reap all the benefits of a workout without having to lift a finger?

New research introduces a 5-minute technique that might improve blood pressure, lower heart attack risk, boost cognitive ability, and enhance sports performance — all while barely having to move.

The technique is called Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training (IMST), and researchers led by Daniel Craighead — a postdoctoral researcher in the University of Colorado Boulder's Department of Integrative Physiology — have tested the technique in a clinical trial.

"IMST is basically strength-training for the muscles you breathe in with," explains Craighead. The researcher and his colleagues presented the preliminary results of their research at the annual Experimental Biology conference, which this year takes place in Orlando, FL.

IMST involves inhaling through a resistive hand-held device called an inspiratory muscle trainer. Its creators initially developed it for people with respiratory problems such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis, or cystic fibrosis, or to wean people off ventilators.

Craighead and team explain that in 2016, a 6-week trial on the effects of IMST on obstructive sleep apnea — during which participants performed 30 inhalations per day — revealed that using the device also lowered systolic blood pressure by 12 millimeters of mercury.

Frequent urination at night may be a sign of hypertension. New research finds that nocturia, or the need to urinate frequently at night, may signal high blood pressure.

Exercising for the same amount of time usually only lowers blood pressure by half that amount, and the benefits seem to exceed those normally achieved with hypertension medication.

This trial piqued the researchers' interest, so they set out to study the possible benefits of IMST for the vascular, cognitive, and physical health of 50 middle-aged adults.

Ana Sandoiu

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