A new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association recently found that a five-minute breathing workout can lower blood pressure in many people as much as exercise and drugs.
Working out just five minutes daily via a practice called Inspiratory Muscle Strength training (IMST), described as “strength training for your breathing muscles” lowers blood pressure and improves some measures of vascular health as well as, or even more than, aerobic exercise or medication according to research by University of Colorado at Boulder.
IMST was developed in the 1980s as a way to help respiratory disease patients to strengthen their diaphragm and related muscles.
- 5 best ANT+ and Bluetooth heart rate chest strap monitors to get in 2021
- 6 Best Gadgets and Fitness Gear to complement your Strength Training
- 7 best medicine and pill reminder apps for iPhone and Apple Watch
- Peloton: The best Power Tray Tables for your Indoor Trainer
- 5 affordable exercise bikes for your Apple Fitness+ workouts
What is IMST?
IMST requires you to breathe through a handheld device that provides resistance when you inhale through it.
Past studies have found that Inspiratory muscle training improves sleep and mitigates cardiovascular dysfunction in obstructive sleep apnea.
Given that the new study shows the efficacy of inspiratory muscle training for people with high blood pressure, the popularity of these devices have been increasing.
University of Colorado Blood Pressure and Breathe Training Study
For this new study, the researchers recruited 36 otherwise healthy adults ages 50 to 79 with above normal systolic blood pressure (120 millimeters of mercury or higher). Half did High-Resistance IMST for six weeks and half did a placebo protocol in which the resistance was much lower.
After six weeks, the IMST group saw their systolic blood pressure (the top number) dip nine points on average, a reduction which generally exceeds that achieved by walking 30 minutes a day five days a week. That decline is also equal to the effects of some blood pressure-lowering drug regimens.
What is even more surprising is that even six weeks after they quit doing IMST, the IMST group maintained most of that improvement.
3 Best Inspiratory muscle strength training devices
Since IMST devices are gaining popularity, we researched some of the best and affordable devices available out there.
AeroFit Pro Breathing Exercise Device + Virtual Coaching app
The Aerofit Pro breathing exercise device may not be the most affordable device out there by any means but it is a top-of-the-line strength training device that features all the bells and whistles that you can expect from a top of the line product.
- ✅THE ALL-IN-ONE BREATHING TRAINER - Want stronger lungs, boosted physical performance, and...
- 🧘 BETTER LIFE QUALITY - Airofit has been proved beneficial for anyone! No matter if you are among...
The offering includes the breathing exerciser and an interactive app that coaches you to make the most out of these breathing exercises.
The Aerofit does measure vital lung capacity. However, as it is not a medical device, the readings from the Airofit may be +/- 15% of what a medical spirometer reads.
The breathing exercise device comes with different levels of resistance that can be easily calibrated.
It is easy to remove the mouthpiece from e-unit and rinse under water. You can use a small amount of anti-bacterial dish soap or an alcohol swab and rinse again making the cleaning process easy.
The Breather and Breather Fit
This product is definitely more along the lines of value for money. The breather can be used as both as an inspiratory muscle trainer and an expiratory muscle trainer with calibration dials for each.
The breather has 5 different adjustable levels. 5 levels for inhalation and 5 levels for exhalation. If you are in therapy, your therapist can evaluate your performance and adjust the level.
- BE AN OLYMPIAN BREATHER | Breather Fit is a scientifically designed lung boost respiratory trainer...
- IMPROVE YOUR PERFORMANCE WITH RESPIRATORY MUSCLE TRAINING | Whether you are a competitive athlete,...
To clean the breather you can use warm soapy water. Rinse well, shake off excess water and then air dry on a clean paper towel. When thoroughly dried, you can store in a plastic bag. The small size of the device makes it easy to carry on your travels as well.
The key difference between the breather and breather fit is that the fit has higher resistance. The new Breather Fit builds from the success of the original Breather, and is designed to help professional athletes, triathletes, and Olympians gain a competitive edge.
3. Expand-a-Lung Breathing Fitness Exercisor
This is the most affordable yet dependable option when it comes to breathing exercise devices. Priced at less than $30, this compact device offers resistance levels for both inhaling and exhaling.
- Highly Effective - Offers the widest range of inspiratory/expiratory resistance levels to meet...
- Very Compact, only 4" tall - You can take it anywhere and use it anywhere (Pocket Sized). Extremely...
Easy to clean, this no-frill breathing fitness exerciser weighs less than 3 ounces and is easy to carry when you travel.
Breathing Fitness exercise gadgets are not new and have been used for many years by folks who have various respiratory or pulmonary problems.
Consistent use of breathing exercise devices have also shown improvements in VO2 max in athletes. Many Divers and endurance athletes tend to use this training to boost up their oxygen capacity.
Given the new research showing the benefits of deep breathing for blood pressure patients and people with sleep apnea, these devices are gaining more popularity with each passing day.
Deep Breathing Apps
Although there are many apps such as Headspace and Calm that can help you with a good breathing exercise and routine, the free Apple Breathe / Mindfulness App does a good job as well.
Other popular apps with users are Breathe+ , Universal Breathing: Pranayama, Paced Breathing (only for Android) and Breathing Zone.
Last update on 2022-01-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API