Working out 5 minutes a day, without lifting a weight or jogging a step, may be able to reduce your heart attack risk, improve your thinking and boost your sports performance, preliminary CU Boulder research suggests.
“It’s basically strength training for the muscles you breathe in with,” explains Daniel Craighead, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Integrative Physiology who is leading a clinical trial of so-called inspiratory muscle strength training (IMST).
IMST involves breathing in vigorously through a hand-held device that provides resistance. Imagine sucking hard through a straw that sucks back.
In the 1980s, patients with lung diseases performed a 30-minute, low-resistance regimen daily to wean themselves off ventilators. But recent research has shown that if the resistance is cranked up, just 30 inhalations per day for six weeks can reap a host of other benefits for time-crunched older adults.
Thus far, in a trial of about 50 people, Craighead’s team has found that those using the device have seen blood pressure improvements greater than some medicines can deliver, have healthier arteries, and are scoring higher on cognitive and exercise tests.
And you don’t even have to change into workout clothes.