It has long been advocated that one of the keys to lowering high blood pressure is to raise your heart rate Aerobic activity for 30 minutes a day. (Technically, cardiologists recommend 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week.) In theory, it sounds easy enough, but in reality putting it into practice can be difficult for some – especially during the winter months. If you work or have kids, there probably isn’t enough time in the day to get everything on your to-do list done without adding exercise into the mix.
What if those 30 minutes could be shortened to just five minutes a day? A new study from the University of Colorado at Boulder It is only suggested by a breathing exercise called inspiratory muscle strength training (IMST). The study found that five minutes of IMST a day could be more effective at lowering blood pressure than aerobic exercise or even medication. What exactly is IMST and can it really be as beneficial as the study suggests? A famous cardiologist who is not affiliated with the study gives his honest thoughts.
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What is Appetite Muscle Strength Training (IMST)?
For the study, 18 participants aged 50 to 79 with high blood pressure (but otherwise healthy) did IMST training for six weeks. Another group of 18 people (ages 50-79 with high blood pressure but no other health conditions) did a placebo exercise. At the end of the six weeks, the researchers found that the IMST participants experienced an average drop in blood pressure of nine points, roughly equivalent to what someone who exercised for 30 minutes a day or took blood pressure medications would. expertise.
So, what is IMST? Dr. Howard Weintraub, MD, The IMST is done by breathing through a graduated tube that uses resistance to strengthen the muscles used in breathing, explains clinical director of the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at NYU Langone Health. Think of it as strength training for the diaphragm. Similar to how lifting weights in the gym can make your arms stronger, IMST uses resistance to make your diaphragm stronger.
Dr. Weintraub, who is not affiliated with the University of Colorado study but is familiar with IMST, says IMST is very different from aerobic activity. The common denominator between them is that both IMST and aerobic exercise make breathing more difficult. The main difference between them is that IMST focuses on the diaphragm and unlike aerobic exercise, it does not increase the heart rate. He explains that the way the IMST was used in the study was that the participants took five breaths and then rested for a minute, repeating that for five minutes. “The whole idea of aerobic exercise is to have a sustainable heart rate,” he says. “This would be like telling someone to walk for 15 seconds and then take a minute to recover.” In other words, it prevents high heart rate, Something that has been repeatedly proven to effectively lower blood pressure. Also, unlike aerobic exercise, Dr. Weintraub says IMST won’t lead to weight loss — an important point given that Obesity is a risk factor for high blood pressure.
While we know from scientific studies that aerobic exercise helps lower blood pressure because it makes the heart stronger, allowing it to pump more blood with less effort and reducing the force on the arteries, the study researchers couldn’t explain why. IMST effectively lowered blood pressure. They just noticed it happened.
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Can IMST really replace aerobic exercise and medication?
While Dr. Weintraub thinks this new study on IMST and blood pressure is intriguing, he’s not advocating foregoing exercise or prescribed medications for a daily five-minute breathing exercise. First, he points out that the study is very small; There were only 36 people, which cannot be compared to the millions of people considered in the many, many studies on aerobic exercise and blood pressure.
Second, he reiterates that researchers cannot explain the results. With this in mind, more scientific evidence is definitely needed to establish a strong association between IMST and lowering blood pressure.
Instead, he says, where IMST can be useful is in addition to other healthy habits including getting regular exercise, eating heart-healthy foods, and taking prescription medications (if needed). He says it won’t hurt and can benefit cardiovascular health in a complementary way.
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There are other ways that aerobic exercise is a better option, in the exercise versus IMST debate. A 30-minute brisk walk is free while IMST requires a special tube and training. Aerobic activity is also linked to mental health benefitsIn addition to helping reduce depression and anxiety.
IMST is an interesting idea, but it’s probably not the acronym some might hope for. So don’t throw out your sneakers yet; Exercising regularly will benefit your body a lot. This advice deserves attention.
Next, find out the cause of high blood pressure during the epidemic.
- Dr. Howard Weintraub, MD, Clinical Director of the Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Center at NYU Langone Health
- Exercise: a drug-free approach to lowering high blood pressure. Mayo Clinic. Accessed 10/10/22.
- Craighead D, Heinbockel T, et al. Inspirational time-saving muscle strength training lowers blood pressure and improves endothelial function, non-biologically available, oxidative stress in middle-aged/older with above-normal blood pressure. Journal of the American Heart Association. 2021; 10 (13).
- Kao L, Lee X, et al. The efficacy of aerobic exercise for the hypertensive population: a systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Hypertension. 2019; 21 (7): 868-876.
- Jiang SZ, Lou W, et al. Obesity and high blood pressure. Experimental and therapeutic medicine. 2016; 12 (4): 2395-2399.
- Smith F, Merwin R. The role of exercise in the management of mental health disorders: an integrative review. Annual Review of Medicine. 2021; (72): 45-62.
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