Breathing is an involuntary function that keeps us alive. What if it not only kept us alive but also healthier? A new study found that people can do breathing exercises to help prevent hypertension.
Breathing Exercises to Help Prevent Hypertension
Breathing is a necessary function that gives our blood oxygen, allowing our muscles and organs to function at all. Our bodies also breathe harder or slower depending on our current situation.
When we’re stressed, we tend to take in short, shallow breaths. During exercise, we breathe heavily, trying to get more oxygen to our muscles. When we’re sleeping, we breathe long, even breaths.
Recently, researchers from the University of Melbourne and Macquarie University in Australia discovered a correlation between neurons controlling blood pressure and breathing during the onset of essential hypertension. Essential hypertension is high blood pressure without a known cause.
The researchers found that the sympathetic nervous system connects blood pressure and breathing. The nervous system sends nerve signals to the blood vessels and heart.
When a person changes their breathing rate, each breath leads to a different neuronal activity. These changes cause fluctuations in blood pressure levels.
The study reports that interrupting activity between the neurons that control these two functions during adolescence dramatically reduces the development of high blood pressure in adulthood.
That means adolescents can utilize breathing exercises to help prevent hypertension in their adult year.
The report explains that breathing changes can change blood pressure levels in adults, but the results are only temporary.
Breathing exercises are very common among yoga enthusiasts, meditators, and athletes. Controlled breathing can calm down the mind and body and immediately reduce stress.
According to a 2016 study, regularly participating in yoga can potentially help people with prehypertension decrease and regulate their blood pressure.
Lowering blood pressure and monitoring heart health could prevent around 100,000 each year.
Try meditating and taking deep breaths each day for 10 minutes. If you find yourself getting stressed, count to ten and breathe from your diaphragm.
Educating teens to manage their stress can lead to a life of good heart health and healthy habits.
The following breathing techniques can help lower your blood pressure and are easy to accomplish.
Take small steps beforehand like finding a comfortable position, silencing your phone, and using a pillow for support.
1. 30-second Breathing Exercise
According to a study involving a large Japanese population, it’s possible to reduce systolic blood pressure with the following exercise:
- Relax, close your eyes, and sit still in a quiet place
- Set a 30-second timer
- Take six deep breaths
Feel free to repeat this simple exercise as necessary.
2. Equal Breathing
Get in a comfortable position (sitting or laying down), relax your muscles and close your eyes.
Then count to four as you inhale through your nose and pause briefly at the end, allowing the air to rest.
Now count to four as you exhale through your nose and, once again, pause at the end.
The purpose of this exercise is to have equal breath lengths, so feel free to modify the length times so long as they are equal.
3. Diaphragm Breathing
By strengthening the diaphragm, you can breathe more efficiently.
Start off by lying flat on your back, bending your knees, and using pillows to support your neck.
Put one hand beneath your rib cage and one on your chest.
Slowly inhale through your nose and exhale through pursed lips.
If done correctly, the hand on your rib cage should rise as you inhale and fall as you exhale, while the one on your chest should remain still throughout.