A five-minute workout called Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training (IMST) lowers blood pressure in middle-aged to older adults; it also improves artery function and scores on memory tests, according to new research.
“IMST is basically strength-training for the muscles you breathe in with. It’s something you can do quickly in your home or office, without having to change your clothes, and so far it looks like it is very beneficial to lower blood pressure and possibly boost cognitive and physical performance,” said Dr. Daniel Craighead, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder.
IMST, developed in the 1980s as a mean to wean critically ill people off ventilators, involves breathing in vigorously through a hand-held device — an inspiratory muscle trainer — which provides resistance.
During early use in patients with lung diseases, patients performed a 30-minute, low-resistance regimen daily to boost their lung capacity.
But in 2016, a team of researchers from the University of Arizona published results from a 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.