- A new study has found that a type of breathing exercise can lower blood pressure in just five minutes a day.
- A device for training respiratory muscles has been found to be as effective as weight loss medications.
- The researcher says that breathing training can have quick results, but it does not replace other healthy habits.
A new study finds that just 30 deep breaths a day using a special device can treat or prevent high blood pressure as effectively as weight loss medications.
A five-minute breathing exercise helps lower blood pressure and improve heart health, which may benefit people of all ages and lifestyles, according to a study published September 15 in the Official Gazette. Journal of Applied Physiology.
Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Arizona conducted tests with a total of 128 healthy adults, ages 18 to 82, who performed breathing exercises for six weeks.
Participants used a hand-held device, similar to an inhaler, for five to 10 minutes per day, taking 30 deep breaths as the machine provided resistance, so the respiratory muscles had to work harder to inhale.
Within two weeks, the researchers began noticing an improvement in the participants’ blood pressure, with temporary mild muscle pain or dizziness as a side effect. By the end of the experiment, they noticed an average drop of 9 mmHg in systolic blood pressure.
The results are as effective as the drugs, and perhaps more effective than Lifestyle changes such as reducing sodium Or lose weight, and it can continue to improve over time, according to Daniel Craighead, the study’s lead author and associate research professor at the University of Colorado Boulder.
“People can expect results fairly quickly,” he told Insider. “We expect that if you go longer, your blood pressure will drop even more.”
The researchers were also surprised to find that the training seemed to benefit not only people who needed to lower their blood pressure, but also healthy young participants.
“What’s really exciting about this is that it’s beneficial for a wide range of adults. People with blood pressure at an unhealthy level can benefit from adding this to their routine now,” said Craighead. “But someone can start in their 30s and stick with it for years to help delay or prevent high blood pressure.”
Resistant breathing can be a shortcut to health benefits, but it doesn’t replace exercise
Medical interest in breathing exercises is not new. Slow and deep breathing has benefits Such as relieving stress, improving sleep, healthy blood pressure, and improving mental health.
But resistance training on your breath may allow you to get more benefits in much less time, similar to the method Lifting heavy weights can boost strength gainsCraiged said.
He added that unlike other treatments for high blood pressure such as medication or traditional exercise, the benefits of breathing training could persist even after participants stopped treatment.
The research found that when participants tried training for six weeks, stopped for six weeks, and then retested, their blood pressure remained nearly low after the training period. Craighead said the research team is now exploring whether a shorter “maintenance dose” of training could help maximize benefits even further, with less time and effort.
They are also working on ways to help more people take advantage of this technology. Lab trials used the $500 device, but Craighead said a cheaper, simpler version is now available commercially, and researchers are working on an app to train people to use it effectively.
However, it is not a substitute for other healthy habits. Regular exercise and good nutrition are important for maintaining muscle mass and Keep cholesterol low For long-term chronic disease prevention, according to Craighead.
“It’s not a magic bullet for cardiovascular health in general, so people shouldn’t stop doing other forms of exercise,” he said.