Previous work has shown inspiratory muscle training (IMT) lowers blood pressure after just six weeks, identifying IMT as a potential therapeutic to prevent/treat hypertension. Here, we explore the effects of IMT on respiratory muscle strength and select cardiovascular parameters in recreationally active men and women. Subjects were randomly assigned to IMT (n = 12, 75% maximal inspiratory pressure) or sham training (n = 13, 15% maximum inspiratory pressure) groups and underwent a 6-week intervention comprising 30 breaths day−1, 5 days week−1. Pre- and post- training measures included maximal inspiratory pressure, and resting measures of blood pressure, cardiac output, heart rate, spontaneous cardiac baroreflex sensitivity, and systemic vascular resistance. We evaluated psychological and sleep status via administration of the Cohen-Hoberman inventory of physical symptoms and the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. Male and female subjects in the IMT group showed declines in systolic/diastolic blood pressures (−4.3/−3.9 mmHg SBP/DBP, P < 0.025) and systemic vascular resistance (-3.5 mmHg*min L−1, P = 0.008) at Week 6. There was no effect of IMT on cardiac output (P = 0.722), heart rate (P = 0.795), or spontaneous baroreflex sensitivity (P = 0.776). IMT subjects also reported fewer stress-related symptoms pre versus post training (12.5 ± 8.5 vs. 7.2 ± 9.7, P = 0.025). Based on these results, we suggest a short course of inspiratory muscle training confers significant respiratory and cardiovascular improvements and parallel (modest) psychological benefits in healthy men and women.
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