The study focused on a type of breathing exercise known as High-Resistance Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training, which was conducted at the University of Colorado (UC) Boulder (IMST).
The diaphragm and other breathing muscles are traditionally strengthened by daily, low-resistance exercises lasting 30 minutes each. However, UC Boulder researchers have been looking into how much shorter high-resistance sessions (as little as 5 minutes) could be advantageous. To investigate the prospects for assisting people in maintaining cardiovascular health as they age.
The researchers looked at 35 adults between the ages of 50 and 79 who had high systolic blood pressure but were otherwise healthy. Over the course of six weeks, the participants were required to do 30 inhalations each day (for roughly 5 minutes) with an IMST device, six days a week. Half of the participants were subjected to a high-resistance regime, while the other half were subjected to a low-resistance regime. None of the participants had any idea which group they had been assigned to.
After six weeks, the participants’ systolic blood pressure had dropped significantly, by an average of nine points, in the high-resistance group. The improvement in the high-resistance group was also linked to changes in 18 metabolites assessed in the study, namely those that “play essential roles in energy production and fatty acid metabolism,” according to the researchers.
Notably, these advantages continued even after the programme ended, with evaluations six weeks later demonstrating that the majority of the blood pressure changes had been maintained.
• It resulted in a 45-percent improvement in vascular endothelial function, which is the ability of the arteries to expand when stimulated;
• It also increased levels of nitric oxide, a vital chemical in avoiding plaque accumulation.
• Potentially advantageous for postmenopausal women.
The preliminary data suggested that 5 minutes of high-resistance IMST per day is a potential, highly adherent modality of physical training for [middle-aged and older] persons, increasing exercise tolerance and modulating metabolic pathways.
A follow-up study involving roughly 100 persons is currently being planned, in which a 12-week IMST regime will be compared to an aerobic exercise programme to further tease out the effects.