Posted on Apr 13, 2019, 6 p.m.
Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training has been shown in preliminary research to boost cognitive and physical performance as well as cardiovascular health.
Diet and exercise are well documented to be good for us, however most often putting in the effort to do so requires more willpower than most people have unfortunately. What if there was a way the help enjoy some of the benefits of exercising without all that hard work?
Research and clinical trial of the 5 minute IMST technique suggests it may improve blood pressure, lower heart attack risk, boost cognitive ability, and enhance sports performance while barely having to move. Preliminary results were presented at the annual Experimental Biology Conference in Florida.
"IMST is basically strength-training for the muscles you breathe in with," explains Daniel Craighead. The technique involves inhaling through a resistive hand held device called a inspiratory muscle trainer, originally developed in the 1980s for those with respiratory problems and to wean people off of ventilators.
A 6 week trial of the effects of IMST on obstructive sleep apnea involving participants performing 30 inhalations per day showed using the device also lowered systolic blood pressure by 12 millimeters of mercury; benefits seem to exceed those normally achieved with hypertension medication. To put this in perspective exercising for the same amount of time typically lowers blood pressure by about half of that amount.
Intrigued by these results the team then set out to study possible benefits of IMST on vascular, cognitive, and physical health of 50 middle aged adults. Participants were compared that used a sham device that provided no inhalation resistance to those who tried IMST. Among those who tried IMST function of their large arteries was found to have improved considerably and their blood pressure was significantly lower. Additionally those in the IMST group performed better on treadmill and cognitive testing; during treadmill testing they ran for longer and were able to keep their heart rate and oxygen consumption low.
"IMST is 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. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which is the number one cause of death in America. Having another option in the toolbox to help prevent it would be a real victory." says Craighead.
Professor Doug Seals adds "Our goal is to develop time-efficient, evidence-based interventions that [...] busy midlife adults will actually perform.” Who was awarded a $450,000 grant from the National Institute of Aging to fund the clinical trial of IMST.
It was noted that these results are only preliminary, but with fewer than 10% of the participants dropping out and no side effects results thus far are very positive; those interested in learning more about the Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training technique or interest in trying it should consult with their physician first.
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