Breathing Exercises For Physical And Mental Health

We breathe without even thinking about it; it happens automatically.

Most adults have developed the habit of taking shallow breathes, so we don’t get enough oxygen into our body.

Why do we need to do breathing exercises?

Breathing exercises help to relax your body and rejuvenate your mind. This is why they are such an important part of yoga exercises and meditation.

Increased oxygen taken into your lungs goes to your brain, heart and other organs, making them work more efficiently.breathing exercise

Deep breathing helps to clear stale air from your lungs. Simply slowing your breathing, by taking slow deep breaths, has the effect of calming and relaxing your mind and body.

Who needs to practice breathing exercises?

  • Research has shown that there is up to 20% less oxygen in our blood as we age. Poor posture, weak muscles and stiffness causes shallow breathing which can lead to respiratory disease, lethargy and heart disease. Breathing exercises will help to strengthen your chest muscles.
  • When we are stressed or anxious, we tend to take short, shallow breaths. Taking 3 deep, slow breathes will make you feel calmer and more in control.
  • Studies show that patients who practice breathing exercises before and after heart surgery may reduce the risk of complications.
  • People who have trouble falling asleep will relax and get to sleep more easily by doing some simple breathing exercises when they go to bed.

Breathing exercises are not difficult and can be done at home, at work or anytime during your day. In fact, doing some breathing exercises will improve clear thinking and help you work more productively.

Here are some simple breathing exercises for you to learn and practice, to help you stay calm and focused:

Belly Breathing:

This is the normal way to breathe but most adults do chest breathing instead. Lie comfortably on your back; place your hands on your belly, just below your ribs, with your middle fingers just touching.

Take a deep breath in, allowing your belly to rise naturally and your finger tips to come apart a little. Hold the breath for a moment and slowly breathe out. This breathing exercise allows your lungs to fill with air right to the bottom, and to completely remove stale air. Practice for 5 minutes a day.

Breathe and Stretch:

This is a great breathing exercise to start your day or to revive you throughout a busy day.

Stand up straight; take a deep breathe in and at the same time stretch your arms up over your head, reaching and stretching as high as you can.

Hold for a count of 3, and breathe out forcefully while you lower your arms. Do 3 to 5 of these every morning to start your day right.

Breathing exercise for relaxation and sleep:

Do this exercise either seated comfortably or lying down. Close your eyes and focus on your natural breathing, gradually deepening your breathing and slowing the rate.

Concentrate on doing belly breathing and count your breathes backwards from twenty. In your mind, say “I am breathing in 20, I am breathing out 20; I am breathing in 19, I am breathing out 19;” and so on down to zero. Keep your breathing slow and deep.

Make these breathing exercises a daily habit, and you will soon feel the difference in your health, energy and mental alertness.