Benefits of deep breathing exercises - Total Health Chiropractic

Total Health
Chiropractic

Benefits of deep breathing exercises

By Dr. Kodie Smith, Chiropractor at Total Health Chiropractic Torquay

man sitting alone outside on ground with eyes closed

Deep breathing exercises are a type of exercise that involves contracting the diaphragm with slow, deep breaths in certain repetitions. It is also referred to as Diaphragmatic breathing. It helps to strengthen the diaphragm, lungs and other associated muscles so that you are able to reach full capacity of your breaths. Deep breathing exercises are used in numerous scenarios but are most commonly used during stress/panic attack or as a meditation/relaxation tool as they are a great way to help relax your mind and body.

What happens during deep breathing exercises?

During deep breathing or diaphragmatic breathing, you are asked to perform slow repetitions of inhaling and exhaling breaths. When you inhale or exhale air from the lungs, the diaphragm muscle, a big dome-shaped muscle that sits on the right-hand side of your chest just under your rib cage, contracts and relaxes in order to assist the lungs to breath in and out air. As you breathe in the diaphragm contracts, moving down so the lungs can expand and take in more air. Therefore, when you breathe out the diaphragm relaxes and expands so the lungs can then expel air out. There are also numerous respiratory muscles and joints that assist these actions including the ribs, neck and chest muscles.

Benefits of deep breathing exercises

There are several benefits of deep breathing exercises including:

  • Reduces anxiety and stress
  • Relaxes the mind and body
  • Improves posture
  • Improves blood flow
  • Lowers heart rate and blood pressure
  • Improves sleep
  • Increases energy levels
  • Improves overall mood and productivity

How to perform deep breathing exercises

There are a lot of different ways to perform deep breathing exercises. Here are my top three diaphragmatic breathing exercises that will help teach your body correct breathing techniques. These can be performed in any scenario as you see fit.

Belly Breathing

  1. Sit or lay flat on your back in a comfortable position
  2. Place one hand on your belly and the other hand on your chest
  3. Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose and ensure your belly expands lifting your hand up
  4. Breathe out through your mouth and feel your hand on your belly move back down (as if you are pushing the air out with your hand)
  5. Repeat these breath movements 5 – 10 times

NOTE: your chest should not move with the breaths throughout this exercise

Pause breathing

  1. Sit or lay flat on your back in a comfortable position.
  2. Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose and ensure your belly expands outwards
  3. Hold this breath for two seconds
  4. Breathe out very slowly through your mouth for six seconds, ensuring your belly deflates down
  5. Repeat these breaths 5 – 10 times

2 – 4 or 3 – 6 breathing

  1. Sit or lay flat on your back in a comfortable position
  2. Take a slow, deep breath in for the count of 2 or 3 through your nose
  3. Exhale your breath slow and deep through your mouth for double the count of your inhalation breath. For example: inhaling for 2 seconds  = exhaling for 4 seconds. Inhaling for 3 seconds = exhaling for 6 seconds.
  4. Repeat these breaths 5 – 10 times

In order to achieve correct breathing techniques, I recommend you start with the belly breathing exercise before trying either of the other two exercises. This will ensure you are correctly breathing through your lungs and diaphragm rather than breathing incorrectly through your chest. I recommend performing these movements on a daily or weekly basis. I personally feel the most optimal and easiest time to perform these exercises is at night when you are going to bed. This will not only ensure you are able to focus on the correct movement of the lungs and diaphragm, but it will also help to wind down your body so you can get a great night’s sleep.

If you require any further information about deep breathing exercises, please contact your local Chiropractor or contact us to book an appointment with one of our Chiropractors.

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