Working out your breathing muscles for five minutes a day can lower your blood pressure more than exercise, a new study suggests. Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Arizona assessed if High-Resistance Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training (IMST), which is a device that requires you to inhale against resistance, improved cardiovascular health.
In the small study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, 18 participants used the IMST device with resistance, and the other half used the device with no resistance.
After inhaling 30 times using the device six days a week over the course of six weeks, the participants who use IMST with resistance had dropped, on average, nine millimeters of mercury in systolic blood pressure, which measures the pressure on your arteries when your heart beats.
The drop in blood pressure from IMST is as effective as some pressure-lowering drugs. What’s more, the nine-point drop from IMST reduces blood pressure more than walking 30 minutes a day five days a week.