See if you can guess what it is that you do about 20 times a minute, and 20,000 to 30,000 times a day?
If you’re still trying to figure it out, we’re talking about BREATHING! Unless you’re suffering from congestion, asthma, or a particular condition that inhibits normal breathing, most likely, you don’t think much about the act of breathing.
Why is Breathing So Important?
Whether you’re a student, working professional, or parent overwhelmed by the stresses of daily life, an active individual with a rigorous exercise regimen, a victim of bodily aches and pains, or simply want to improve your overall health, breathing properly can help alleviate a host of ailments, and drastically improve your well-being!
The benefits of breathing are well documented. However, our sedentary lifestyle has put much stress on the muscles and ligaments supporting our diaphragm, and contributed to tension and symptoms such as spasms, side stitches, numbness, and sharp pains.
Besides the stress we accumulate in our body and mind over time, the quick pace of modern life has conditioned us to breathing with our chest - taking quick, shallow breaths that are the very opposite of productive, healthful breathing.
8 Benefits of Proper Breathing
By learning some simple breathing techniques and taking the time to breathe properly, you’ll soon be convincing your friends and family of the importance and benefits of deep breathing, which include:
Lower levels of anxiety and stress
Boost in energy and mood
Improved blood flow and circulation
Reduced muscle tension and pains
Better digestion and bowel movement
Greater concentration and focus
“Slowing” of aging
Relaxation of the body and mind
How to Breathe Optimally?
If you want to reap any or all of the benefits from deep breathing, begin by following these simple steps:
First, find a comfortable place to lie on your back, or simply stand tall with your chest open. Place one hand on your chest and another on your stomach. Then, when you’re ready, take a deep breath in through your nostrils. There are several reasons why you’ll want to breathe through your nostrils. Not only do your nose hairs slow and filter the air entering your body, breathing through your nostrils warms the air and gives you more control over your breath.
Now, as you’re taking that deep breath, notice the movement of your stomach and chest. Ideally, your stomach should push outward, followed by a slight rise in your chest.
Exhaling is just as important as inhaling that breath of oxygen. Again, you want your stomach to push out first. But, when you exhale, do so through your mouth. As you are exhaling, unwanted toxins are expelled from your body. So empty your breath fully to allow yourself to fill up with fresh oxygen when you take the next inhale.
Repeat the process for 10 minutes or so. If you feel dizzy or lightheaded, give yourself a moment to recover. As easy as it sounds, you may need time and regular practice to get accustomed to taking deep breaths and reaping its many benefits.
What’s happening when you breathe deeply is activating your body’s natural relaxation response. Ever wonder why getting regular massages is so beneficial for your health and well-being? The answer lies in the very fact that massages can send your body and mind into the deep, relaxed state much like deep breathing does. Just imagine the combined effects of getting a massage and learning to breathe deeply!
The benefits of deep breathing are so numerous and applicable. So, take a few moments in your day to breathe yourself to better health!
Need some help getting started? Join us at Futureproof Wellness for free meditation Monday mornings or check out our massage offerings that help stimulate better breathing and relaxation!