Breathing seems like a simple task, and most of the time, we don’t have to think about it. However, our breath and how we breathe are essential parts of our health.
Proper breathing combines our first two tips, stress management, and exercise. How we breathe directly affects how we move!
Signs We May Not Be Breathing Properly
- shortness of breath
- frequent sighing or yawning
- chronic pain
- sleep disturbances.
When we breathe in, our lungs fill up with air and inflate like a balloon. How much air gets in depends on many factors, including how our diaphragm is working. As the diaphragm contracts and pulls down, this creates a change in pressure that draws air into our lungs. When the diaphragm relaxes, it moves up and “pushes” the air out of the lungs.
To keep our lungs clear and healthy proper breathing is essential. Considering we only use about 70% of our lung capacity, weak breathing can make us susceptible to infections.
With all the information on COVID-19 now demonstrating that the virus hits the lungs, it is crucial that we exercise our lungs properly.
The best way to practice breathing is to set some time and focus on the following steps.
- Take a breath in through your nose. We are meant to breathe in through our noses. The small hairs act as filters, and the many blood vessels warm the air before it moves through the back of our throat to enter our lungs. We also get an exchange of nitric acid, which allows better oxygen binding. Mouth breathing does not allow for any of these events to happen.
- Exhale through nose preferably; however, mouth exhalation is okay too.
- Try to breathe in (inhale) over 2 to 4 counts and breathe out (exhale) over 4-8 counts. Your exhalation should be longer than your inhalation.
- Pause for 2-3 counts before your next breath.
A strong core can help with strengthening the diaphragm. The best way, though, is to practice breathing.
You can lie on your back with your legs and hips at 90 degrees, your feet resting on a chair, or you can be on your hands and knees and move into cat/cow position.
The most important part of this process is keeping your tongue resting on the roof of your mouth with your teeth slightly apart. This relaxes the jaw muscles and helps keep your airways open.
As always, this is intended for information purposes only. If you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch with us at Corbett Family Chiropractic. We’re conveniently located in downtown Burlington, offer free parking, and welcome walk-ins.