HOW to breathe and WHY it is important
If we cannot control the simple act of breathing how are we suppose to control our thoughts, our bodies or ever the world around us.
And if we cannot feel and fully experience breathing how are we supposed to be mindful of anything else within or around us.
Everything begins and ends with breathing.
Unfortunately very few fitness professionals teach their clients about correct breathing, breathing patterns or even breathing exercises. Although breathing:
• removes stale air from lungs
• helps the body recover and heal injuries or illnesses
• improves blood circulation
• improves cardiovascular capacity
• reduces your cardiovascular warm up time
• reduces muscle soreness
• helps with flexibility and mobility
• increases amount of oxygen in your blood
• enhances the immune system
• relieves stress, anxiety and depression
• enhances focus, patience and calmness
• enhances the 5 senses – touch, smell, sight, sound, taste
• can slow the heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure (Harvard Health Publications January 26, 2015)
• even helps you fall asleep easier
These are some benefits of deep breathing. And you can find research on the topic everywhere. So why aren’t fitness pros teaching their clients this? I don’t know.
What is deep breathing
Deep breathing is also called diaphragmatic breathing, breathing deep into your stomach, abdominal breathing.
However we seem to struggle with deep breathing for some reason, although it’s a natural thing and we should be able to do it. There might be 2 reasons why we find it difficult at the beginning according to Harvard Health Publications:
1. Flat stomach is a symbol of attractiveness. So we need to hold out stomach muscles to make sure we are sexy enough.
2. The range of motion in our diaphragm is restricted because of shallow breathing.
3. And to add one from myself….. the abdominal muscles get tighter and tighter since they are not used. There’s no flexibility to “inflate” the stomach
Breathing in a correct way
When we do the breathing test many of my clients reverse breathe. Reverse breathe is when you:
• breathe IN and DEFLATE your stomach (belly button towards the spine)
• breathe OUT and INFLATE your stomach
I cannot do that even if I try. You are basically trying to inflate something that’s deflating.
So do THE TEST for yourself:
• place on hand on your chest and one on your stomach
• exhale to empty your lungs
• the hand on your chest should NOT move, the hand on your stomach should be PUSHED OUT by the stomach as it inflates
• the hand on your chest should NOT more, the hand on your stomach should be COME IN, as the stomach deflates and belly button goes in towards the spine.
Next step – linear breathing
If you got this right then you can go to the next level, linear breathing:
• BREATHE IN through your nose on a count of 4
• BREATHE OUT through your nose on a count of 4.
If you cannot do on a count of 4 then start with 3 or even 2 and build up.
Cool, you got this right? I know you did.
However, just in case you need to take your breathing exercises at the next level, or maybe you want to know when you do then or how to better control your breathing, or how to breathe while you run and exercise book a FREE call with me and I’ll take you through everything you need to know.