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IMST Breathing

IMST Breathing

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IMST Breathing infographic
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Inspirational Muscle Strength Training (IMST) is designed to improve the performance of muscles involved in breathing inward, which is known as ‘inspiration’. This can aid you in exercise, ultimately improving your physical fitness. Breathing exercises, in general, are good for your mood and emotion management.

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How to Do It

While standing or sitting up straight, purse your lips and breathe in fully.

While your lungs are filled, pull your shoulders back and move your arms outward, to widen your diaphragm. Then breathe out.

Repeat 25-30 times.

If you become light-headed, IMMEDIATELY STOP this exercise and return to normal breathing.

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  • May improve physical endurance and performance [1], [2], [3]
  • May improve mood [7]
  • May decrease blood pressure [4]
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Time Commitment

5-10 minutes

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Why it works

Breathing exercises help you be mindful while breathing, which improves your mood and negative emotion management [7].

Weak breathing muscles require a lot of energy (carried by the blood) to cope with high levels of exercise, meaning more energy is freed up for the rest of the body if these muscles are strengthened. In other words, IMST breathing optimises blood flow around the body by reducing the need for blood in the breathing muscles [4].

Stronger muscles also reduce the sensation of discomfort during breathing that may prevent you from exercising for longer periods of time [4].

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Suggested Frequency

5-10 times a week

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Side Effects

  • Adverse effects of IMST have been observed in those with breathing disorders. DO NOT start IMST if you have a breathing disorder. Ask a health professional first.
  • If you become light-headed during IMST, IMMEDIATELY STOP this exercise and return to normal breathing. 
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Gurus/Celebrities/Doing it

David Blaine

Natalia Molchanova

Jean M. Williams

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Category Health/Productivity/Focus:


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  • People who are less fit tend to benefit more from IMST, so it is a good starting point for becoming fit if vigorous exercise is too much for you to begin with.
  • Like any muscle strengthening exercise, you may not notice immediate benefits from this habit. It can take around two weeks.
  • Devices can be used to enhance the muscle training experience, although they may produce unreliable effects.
  • For any musicians out there, strengthening these muscles can improve your vocal performance.
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 Happiness  Fitness  Energy  Productivity
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