This pandemic has really left us wondering how seriously we take our health and fitness. As we spend time contemplating the important things in life, we can’t help but wonder how we can improve our lifestyle. One thing that really comes to mind is how we can make our lungs stronger to lead a more fitting life. If you’re like us then you spent a lot of time frantically searching for ways to increase your oxygen levels after every time someone even mentioned the COVID-19 outbreak. Well, you don’t need to look any further, because we have compiled for you some of the best breathing exercises to optimize your lungs capacity.
Breathing is not just about taking deep breaths in and then exhaling them out, in fact there is a lot more that breathing contributes to in our lives, more than we realize. Just because it took a pandemic to make you realize that does not mean it’s too late!
It is also necessary to be wearing breathable clothes that will help you remain fresh and ventilated throughout your exercise regime. So, invest in good quality sportswear so your body feels relaxed and open to new exercising challenges. Usually for us when we are struggling to breathe during a hike, or gasping for air while swimming, is when we really think about improving our stamina too! But now that we realize how important breathing is for us, here are some techniques we have compiled for you to practice regularly.
1. Belly Breathing
This kind of breathing is also known as diaphragmatic breathing or abdominal breathing. This type of a breathing exercise helps boost your diaphragm, which is an important muscle that helps you breathe. Not only does it improve our lungs capacity but belly breathing can have many more advantages too.
This form of breathing is considered to be the center of meditation. Recommended by many yoga instructors and meditation experts, belly breathing can really help those who suffer from anxiety and stress. Not only does it help you relax but belly breathing can also bring down your blood pressure and heart rate. This form of breathing slowly helps improve your lungs storage and also expends more energy throughout your body.
The best way of practicing belly breathing is by:
a) Lie down straight facing up, back down and your knees should be slightly bent and your head lifted, you can use a pillow or a rolled towel
b) You may place a pillow under your knees to help you relax
c) Place one hand on your upper chest and one hand below your rib cage, and try to feel the movement of your diaphragm.
d) Slowly breathe in through your nose, pressing your stomach into your hand.
e) Breathe out using pursed lips as you squeeze your stomach muscles, all the while keeping your upper hand completely still.
2. Equal Breathing
This type of breathing technique aims to equalize the length of your inhales and exhales. Again this is a breathing technique we adopt from yoga and it helps reduce stress and make a person feel calm.
Here is how you can practice equal breathing:
a) Sit in a comfortable position.
b) Slowly breathe in and out through your nose.
c) Count during each inhale and exhale to make sure they are even in duration. Try using a duration this is not very short or very long, make sure you are comfortable and relaxed. You can also choose a word or short phrase to repeat during each inhale and exhale.
d) You can add a slight pause or hold your breath after each inhale and exhale if you feel comfortable.
e) For optimum results, continue practicing this breath for at least 5 minutes.
3. Pursed Lip Breathing
Although this type of breathing technique can be used as a form of relaxation, it has also proven to be extremely effective during workouts. This technique makes it easier for the lungs to function and enhances the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Here is how you can practice pursed lip breathing:
a) Relax your neck and shoulders.
b) Keep your mouth closed and inhale through your nostrils
c) Pout your lips as if you were going to blow a whistle
d) Then slowly breathe out so that it takes you almost twice as longs to exhale than it did when you inhaled.
e) Repeat this for at least 5 times a day.
The best thing about breathing exercises is that you can try them out right away! Practicing these techniques will not only improve your stamina but also help you feel more relaxed and stress free!