Monday, June 25, 2007

RealAge Update June 25, 07

A Breath of Better Blood Pressure

"Take a deep breath and calm down." If you've done it, you know a long, slow breath really does help. But can it do more than restore your composure? Seems so. If done the right way, the simple act of breathing can help bring down your blood pressure (BP). Here's the six-step way to make it happen.

6 Steps to Better BreathingIn a study, it took only 10 minutes of proper breathing technique daily to lower blood pressure considerably after 8 weeks. The people in the study used a high-tech, interactive audio program that guided their breathing with music. Here's the tech-free way to do your lungs -- and your BP -- right.

Lie flat on the floor.
Take a deep, slow breath. Imagine your lungs filling up with air. (This should take about 5 seconds.)
As you breathe in, your belly button should be moving away from your spine -- the result of your diaphragm pulling air into your lungs.

Toward the end of your inhalation, your chest also may expand.
When your lungs feel nice and full, exhale slowly. (This should take about 7 seconds.)
You should notice your belly button pulling toward your spine as you exhale.Other Ways to Get DownBesides better breathing, how else can you lower your blood pressure? Regular exercise and a low-fat/low-sodium diet do the job. And some yoga, meditation, or biofeedback help.

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