Some days are just so much busier than others. Your intentions are to hit the gym and sweat out your frustrations, but what happens when you’re just never able to get there?
Do you get home and simply fall on the couch, grumpy about missing your daily workout?
Not if you have this little device on hand…
A novel way to exercise
Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder propose that this novel way to exercise can lower blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health, boost your fitness and sharpen your memory, all by training for just 5 minutes a day1.
No, it’s not a magical modification of the 7-minute workout; it’s by breathing.
Don’t stop reading! This is revolutionary stuff. You see, you’re not going to get fit just by breathing, but you are going to get fit with inspiratory muscle training. A mouthful, no doubt, let us explain…
Train your breathing muscles
Results from a clinical trial on Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training (IMST) was presented at the Experimental Biology conference in Orlando in April 2019 as a way to workout effectively when there is little time to do any other form of physical activity. "It's something you can do quickly in your home or office, without having to change your clothes," explained Daniel Craighead, a postdoctoral researcher who led the study. The method, using a handheld breathing apparatus developed in the 1980s, saw study participants significantly improve their blood pressure2, their cardiovascular health3, get better scores on memory tests4 and work out on the treadmill for longer than those using a sham breathing device. All after taking just 30 breaths a day for 6 weeks.
The device, which was originally a concept developed for critically ill patients to help wean them off breathing machines5,6, is now seeing huge application in the sport and athletic industry. It’s a small bulbous-looking piece of equipment, where one end is inserted into the mouth, and breathing occurs against a one-way valve that provides resistance. The device can be set according to the resistance level desired, and can be increased gradually as the respiratory muscles become stronger and more accustomed to doing the work7.
You may be wondering why it’s something that should interest you as someone who works out regularly. Here’s why it can work for you.
Beat fatigue to train harder and longer
When you train, you typically limit yourself by the time it takes you to fatigue. This is known as exercise tolerance. While exercise tolerance is different for every individual, it also means each person can change their limits; and not just by putting more hours in the gym or on fitness routines.
Exercise tolerance is determined by the ability of the muscle to respond and withstand additional work for a given length of time, which is also determined by the supply of nutrients and oxygen-rich blood being provided to the area. Where fitness comes in, is the ability of the body to provide these nutrients and oxygen in a more efficient and effective manner, which depends on how much of them are in supply8.
Of course, nutrition and what you eat plays a huge role here, but how your lungs work, and their ability to take in oxygen does, too. If the chest wall and the muscles that make up the torso are not in peak condition, there may be reduced capacity to take in larger amounts of oxygen-rich air that are required for increased fitness and the ability to improve endurance. It maintain the limitations on exercise at a certain level, and fatigue will continue to set in within shorter amounts of time that you would expect when you’ve been training for so long.
Train the muscles in the chest and torso with an inspiratory muscle training device, however, and a significant improvement on your ability to train longer and faster is entirely possible, and in a shorter amount of time than you would need should you continue to rely solely on your exercise routine9,10,11. Not only can you use such a device as a healthy adjunct to your current workouts if, for any reason you are unable to take part in your normal routine, this device can be used to maintain your fitness levels. When you’re under the weather, for example or you need to take a couple of days or even weeks off from training, because these devices were originally designed to be used in those with seriously diminished lung capacity12, they are safe to use albeit at a much lower resistance level when you’re not feeling your best.
Now there really is no excuse to skip a day. Using a simple handheld device once or twice a day in the comfort of your own home, in the office or anywhere else, you can improve your fitness, boost your heart and brain health, and never again worry about reduced performance when you’re unable to make it to the gym.
- University of Colorado at Boulder. Novel 5-minute workout improves blood pressure, may boost brain function. ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 April 2019.
- Craighead, D., et al. Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training Lowers Resting Systolic Blood Pressure and Improves Vascular Endothelial Function in Middle-Aged and Older Adults. The FASEB Journal. 2019. 3(1).
- Heinbockel, T., et al. Effects of Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training on Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Middle-Aged to Older Adults. The FASEB Journal. 2019. 33(1).
- Hamilton, M., et al. Effects of Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training on Cognitive and Motor Function in Middle-Aged and Older Adults with Above-Normal Systolic Blood Pressure. The FASEB Journal. 2019. 33(1).
- Scano, G., et al. Respiratory muscle energetics during exercise in healthy subjects and patients with COPD. Respiratory Medicine (2006) 100, 1896–1906
- Dacha, S., et al. Effect of an Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) Program on Respiratory Muscle Function, Symptoms of Dyspnea, Respiratory Muscle Activation and Tissue Oxygen Delivery During Exercise Breathing in a Patient with Idiopathic Unilateral Diaphragmatic Paralysis: A Case Report. B60. PULMONARY REHABILITATION: GENERAL. ATS Journal.
- McConnell, A., & Romer. Respiratory Muscle Training in Healthy Humans: Resolving the Controversy. Int J Sports Med. 2004. 25:284-293.
- Laohachai, K., et al. Inspiratory Muscle Training Is Associated With Improved Inspiratory Muscle Strength, Resting Cardiac Output, and the Ventilatory Efficiency of Exercise in Patients With a Fontan Circulation. Journal of the American Heart Association. 2017. 6(8).
- Edwards, A., et al. (2016). Efficacy of inspiratory muscle training as a practical and minimally intrusive technique to aid functional fitness among adults with obesity. RESPIRATORY PHYSIOLOGY AND NEUROBIOLOGY.
- Prieske, O., et al. The Role of Trunk Muscle Strength for Physical Fitness and Athletic Performance in Trained Individuals: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Medicine. 2016. 46(3):401-419.
- Kellens, I., et al. Inspiratory muscles strength training in recreational athletes. Rev Mal Respir. 2011 May;28(5):602-8.
- Jimborean, G., et al. Respiratory Muscle Training In Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Pneumologia. 2017. 1(3).