The breathing exercise that lowers blood pressure

What if you could improve your blood pressure, heart attack risk and cognitive health just by working out for five minutes per day?

That would be great, right?

But hold on… it gets even better.

What if this workout didn’t involve any running, jogging, jumping, weight-lifting or traditional exercise whatsoever? What if all it involved was breathing?

This may sound too good to be true. But it’s not. There’s an unusual form of “exercise” that improves blood pressure and brain health in just five minutes per day — Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training (IMST).

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IMST improves blood pressure and brain health

Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training (IMST) is essentially strength training for the muscles that you use when you inhale. And the latest research shows this obscure form of exercise produces big results in a short period of time.

Researchers from the National Institute on Aging at the University of Colorado Boulder recently started a clinical trial on IMST because they were so impressed with its results in other studies. What results did they find so impressive?

Well, a 2016 study found that IMST not only helped people with sleep apnea get better quality sleep, but it also lowered their blood pressure too. In fact, it dropped systolic blood pressure by 12 millimeters in six weeks. That’s twice as much improvement as you typically see with aerobic exercise in that amount of time and just as much improvement as you see with blood pressure medications.

Now, systolic blood pressure plays an important role in many areas of health…

Related: 19 natural alternatives for healthy blood pressure

When it’s high, that’s a sign of stiffening arteries, which means your body tissues might not be getting enough blood. As a result, you have a higher risk of heart attack, cognitive decline, and kidney damage.

So, the fact that IMST can lower systolic blood pressure means it has the potential to improve your health in many ways.

In fact, more than halfway through this latest clinical trial, preliminary results show that people doing IMST are not only lowering blood pressure and improving artery function, but they’re also performing better on cognitive and memory tests. Plus, they have better exercise endurance.

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Breathe your way to better health

The benefits of IMST sound great. But you may still be wondering how exactly you “exercise” those breathing muscles…

You do it with a relatively inexpensive device called an inspiratory muscle trainer. You can buy one online for as little as $25. It’s like a big plastic straw. The only difference is, that when you suck an inspiratory muscle trainer, it sucks back. That’s how you build those breathing muscles.

In the 2016 study I mentioned above, people did 30 inhalations per day on their inspiratory muscle trainer. That shouldn’t take more than five minutes or so.

Now, the research on IMST is still very preliminary, so you may not want to invest in an inspiratory muscle trainer yet.

But even if you don’t, you could try deep breathing exercises that can strengthen similar muscles. Yoga includes many beneficial breathing exercises, including something called sandbag breathing that strengthens the diaphragm, just like IMST. Here are directions to get you started.

Editor’s note: There are numerous safe and natural ways to decrease your risk of blood clots including the 25-cent vitamin, the nutrient that acts as a natural blood thinner and the powerful herb that helps clear plaque. To discover these and more, click here for Hushed Up Natural Heart Cures and Common Misconceptions of Popular Heart Treatments!


  1. Novel 5-minute workout improves blood pressure, may boost your brain — MedicalXpress


Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and