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This Five-Minute Breathing Exercise Can Boost Brain and Heart Health

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

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  • Inspiratory muscle strength training can lower blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health and boost cognitive and physical performance in middle-aged adults who do not get the recommended amount of aerobic exercise
  • Inspiratory muscle strength training (IMST) involves inhaling through a hand-held device that restricts air flow. By making you work harder to breathe in, you strengthen the muscles used for inhalation
  • Most people breathe incorrectly and the ramifications for your health can be significant. One of the most common errors is over breathing, which depletes your carbon dioxide (CO2) reserves, thus lowering tissue oxygenation and causing airway and blood vessel constriction
  • Mouth breathing has been linked to an increased risk of snoring, sleep apnea, asthma, abnormal facial development in children, poor oral hygiene, crooked teeth, poor posture, poor sports performance and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Another near-universal breathing abnormality is breathing vertically rather than horizontally. Correct breathing will cause your midsection to widen while not raising your shoulders or puffing out the upper part of your chest. This is the horizontal breath

The way you breathe has a significant impact on your health, and various breathing exercises have been shown to improve your health and well-being in a number of ways.

Most recently, researchers have found inspiratory muscle strength training — a technique that strengthens your respiratory musculature — can improve cardiovascular health, as well as cognitive and physical performance.

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