We are breathing some 9 million times a year since the day we are born, without ever noticing what we do. But did you know that you can teach yourself to do it better with breathing exercises? And will you be surprised if we tell you that a good breathing technique can reduce stress, increase your energy and calm your mind. Here we go then!
What is Breathing Exercise?
These are a group inhaling-exhaling exercises in which correct breathing is practiced through various techniques. They can be used to improve respiratory health, relaxation, lung health and in combination with various relaxation methods throughout the day. Some of these techniques, which are scientifically proven to be effective in playing role in the treatment of various respiratory diseases, are as follows:
Deep Breathing: It is used to ensure that the lungs are filled to their full capacity. Deep breaths are first taken through the nose and then slowly exhaled through the mouth.
Belly Breathing (Diaphragmatic Breathing): To do this exercise, sit or lie down in a comfortable position. By using the diaphragm for inhaling, the abdomen inflates and more oxygen is taken in. This exercise can be used to support the treatment of various respiratory diseases.
Breath-Holding: The exercise is practiced by holding the breath for a few seconds after inhaling and then slowly exhaling. It is used to increase the capacity of the lungs and help the body to take in more oxygen.
Rhythmic Breathing: This exercise involves breathing in and out at a certain rate for the same amount of time. This process can be repeated for several minutes. Rhythmic breathing helps to relax the mind and can increase focus.
Extended Breathing: Slower inhalations and exhalations are used for longer periods of time. It helps to calm and relax.
Pursed Lip Exercise: This technique involves breathing in through the mouth instead of the nose and then exhaling in a controlled manner with the lips slightly pursed.
Slow Breathing: The slow breathing exercise focuses on breathing slowly and in a controlled manner. In this exercise, you inhale slowly through the nose and then exhale slowly.
Each of these methods can be used alone or in different combinations and frequencies. Before trying one, keep in mind that everything with an effect also has a side effect. So if you have any health problems, consult a health professional before doing them and act according to their recommendations.
A simple breathing exercise
Almost all can be easily practiced by everyone, regardless of location and time. Here is a simple breathing routine you can do:
- Sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
- Take a deep breath in through the nose. The abdomen (diaphragm) should swell at this time.
- Hold your breath for about 3-4 seconds.
- Exhale slowly through your mouth with pursed lips. At this time, your abdomen should draw in again.
- When exhaling, be slow and release as much air as possible.
- Repeat this cycle 10-15 times.
- You can progress by increasing the inhalation and exhalation time with each repetition.
- Do these exercises regularly and, if possible, spend at least 5-10 minutes a day on it.
Benefits of Breathing Exercises
These techniques are used by many people in everyday life unintentionally and naturally. However, they can provide more health benefits when done systematically. The benefits of systematical practice can be listed as follows:
Better stress management: Breathing exercises can help reduce stress hormones released from the body. When you make it part of your daily routine and do it regularly, it can have a positive impact on your overall mood and mental health.
Better lung function: Over time, it can help you breathe more effectively by increasing the capacity of your lungs and developing your respiratory muscles. It can also support the lungs to regularly expel air, preventing carbon dioxide from building up in the body.
Better cardiovascular health: When done regularly, these exercises can help to improve heart health by lowering blood pressure. It can also support the heart to pump blood more efficiently.
Better sleep quality: It can contribute to improving sleep quality and help to cope with sleep disorders. By providing relaxation and calming before sleep, it can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more comfortably.
Better mental clarity: It can improve mental clarity and help with focus. It can also improve memory and learning ability by increasing brain function.
Better digestion: It can improve digestive system function and reduce stomach and intestinal problems such as indigestion, bloating, gas formation. Breathing exercises tune digestion by relaxing the muscles of the digestive system and increasing blood flow.