Benefits of Breathing Exercise

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Deep breathing exercises can help you calm down, improve your mood and sleep better. It also can strengthen your core muscles and increase your athletic performance.

Unlike shallow breathing that limits the diaphragm’s range of motion, belly breathing encourages full oxygen exchange by allowing the lower abdomen to expand, according to Harvard Health. This is why it’s important to do this regularly.

Improves your mood

The upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic has triggered anxiety, stress, and muscular tension in many people. Breathing exercises can be a great way to ease these feelings and promote calm.

Consciously changing the way you breathe sends a signal to your brain to alter your parasympathetic nervous system (which slows heart rate and digestion, and promotes feelings of calm) and to balance your sympathetic Simple Breathing Exercises (which triggers the release of stress hormones). It’s thought that this may help relieve many maladies, including mental health issues.

One technique, known as “4-7-8 breathing,” involves inhaling to a count of four, holding your breath for a count of seven and exhaling for a count of eight. This method helps to open up the smaller airways in your lungs and can be done anywhere. Another breathing exercise involves cyclic sighing, which has been shown to decrease levels of three specific cytokines that are linked with inflammation and stress in the saliva.

Reduces stress

Breathing exercises can help relieve stress by increasing oxygen exchange and slowing the heart. They also reduce blood pressure and release any tension held in the chest or abdomen. In addition, when you focus on your breath, you are able to quiet the mind and return to the moment.

When you are stressed, your body goes into a fight or flight mode, which causes your heart to race and your palms to sweat. This is a natural reaction to dangerous situations, but in today’s world, the dangers we face are more likely to be mental than physical.

Practicing breathing exercises can help calm your stress, even in the midst of a chaotic day. Try to do the exercises at the same time each day, to help establish the habit. If you have a respiratory condition, such as asthma or COPD, talk to your doctor or respiratory therapist before starting breathing exercises. They can advise you on safe and effective techniques to use for your condition.

Lowers blood pressure

Deep breathing activates your parasympathetic nervous system, slowing your heart rate and dilating blood vessels, all of which lowers blood pressure. It’s an easy, low-impact exercise you can do anywhere that can improve your overall health and help you relax when stress is high.

If you have COPD or asthma, regular breathing exercises may help you breathe more easily. These breathing exercises teach your lungs to expand, which makes it easier for you to get enough oxygen in and out of the lungs.

One type of breathing exercise is called equal breathing or Sama Vritti. This involves taking four equal breaths in and out. You can also try a longer version with eight equal length breaths in and out, or even just counting to ten in and out each time. Performing this type of breathing exercise regularly can reduce anxiety and improve focus, and it’s even used by the Navy Seals! It’s the easiest way to clear your mind and balance your body.

Helps you sleep

Shallow breathing at night can interfere with your sleep, leading to a lack of quality rest and contributing to snoring. It may also be a sign of a sleep disorder like sleep apnea.

Practicing deep breathing exercises can help you relax and sleep better. Breathing exercise stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system to calm the sympathetic nervous system, which helps you fall asleep.

One simple breathing technique to try is 4-7-8 breathing, which involves breathing deeply into your belly and rib cage for four seconds and exhaling slowly for seven counts. This ratio has been shown to lower your systolic blood pressure and decrease your heart rate, which helps you fall asleep faster. If you’re new to the practice, you can start with a shorter count on each inhale and exhale, and then increase gradually as your comfort level increases. This breathing pattern can be done lying down or sitting up, but you should always breathe through your nose.

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