You could lower your blood pressure significantly in 30 seconds if you just do this: breathe deeply.
In a study, that simple act helped lower the study participants' systolic blood pressure. In fact, the study participants only had to do it six times to see their systolic pressure dip as much as 10 mm Hg! Not too shabby for a few slow in-and-out breaths.
Blowing Off Steam
The study involved nearly 20,000 Japanese adults with either normal blood pressure or high blood pressure. Some of the study participants sat alone quietly doing a breathing exercise that involved taking six deep breaths over the course of 30 seconds. The rest just sat quietly doing nothing for the same amount of time. Both activities were good for the study participants' vitals. But afterward, the systolic blood pressure readings in the deep breathers had dropped much more dramatically than the people who merely sat quietly. (Try this breathing exercise that helps prevent wrinkles, too.)
The overall blood pressure and pulse rates of both groups were healthier after the quiet time. So the real point here may be that calming activities of any kind are important for relaxing blood vessels and the heart. The researchers suspect that the blood pressure benefits of the two activities in the study were at least partially due to their calming effects on the sympathetic nervous system. (Here are some of the other good things that deeply breathing does for your body.)
Check out these blood-pressure-taming tricks:
Keeping your blood pressure at 115/76 mm Hg can make your RealAge as much as 12 years younger. Take the NEW RealAge Test!
ReferencesHow does deep breathing affect office blood pressure and pulse rate? Mori, H. et al., Hypertension Research 2005 Jun;28(6):499-504.
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