Many doctors and yoga practitioners suggest deep breathing exercises to improve overall health and help you relax. It is the best method to relax both physically and mentally.
In this busy era, we often feel stressed and anxious due to strenuous work and busy lives. Therefore, you should focus on the mentally active relaxation technique to achieve a relaxed, calm and focused mind.
Deep or diaphragmatic breathing helps improve lung capacity and provides a larger area for gas exchange during breathing. Deep breathing increases the oxygen supply to our brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, resulting in relaxation and calmness. It takes your attention away from your worries and helps you feel more connected to your inner self.
According to a study published in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, the volunteers who regularly performed deep breathing exercises had better lung function and greater lung vital capacity.
According to several studies, the daily practice of deep or abdominal breathing for 20 to 30 minutes significantly improves lung health and reduces anxiety, stress and depression.
How do you perform deep or diaphragmatic breathing exercises?
Diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing is easy to perform. The solemn goal is to focus on the rise and fall of the abdomen as you breathe. Here are the steps of the deep breathing exercise:
- Lie on your back on a flat surface or yoga mat, or sit comfortably on a chair and maintain your posture.
- You can place a pillow under your head and knees for more comfort.
- Concentrate on your breathing.
- Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach directly below the ribcage. This position can cause you to feel your diaphragm move as you breathe.
- Breathe in slowly through your nostrils and feel the air move to your belly. The hand on your chest should be still as you inhale, while the hand on your stomach should come up with abdominal movements.
- Hold your breath for at least three seconds.
- As you exhale through your nose, tighten your abs and let them fall in as you exhale. You can notice the movement of the hand on your stomach.
If possible, try to practice deep breathing exercises for at least 5-10 minutes two or three times a day.
What are the benefits of deep breathing exercises?
Deep breathing is one of the simplest and most useful tools for improving lung capacity, fighting stress and anxiety, lowering blood pressure and improving overall health. Here are some benefits of deep breathing:
Diaphragmatic breathing can strengthen the diaphragm, one of the main breathing muscles, as 80% of the breathing process takes place through the diaphragm. It also improves the activity of accessory respiratory muscles, leading to easier breathing in people with COPD, asthma and damaged lung tissue due to smoking.
Deep breathing leads to increased oxygen uptake in our blood. It improves the functioning of every organ and increases stamina.
Breathing removes most of the toxins from our body, including carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and other waste products. If you don’t breathe fully, your body has to work overtime to remove these toxins. On the other hand, deep breathing improves breathing and efficiently detoxifies our system.
Deep breathing increases levels of endorphins (feel-good hormones) and decreases cortisol hormone levels. A reduction in cortisol (stress hormone) levels can stimulate the brain to be calm and relaxed.
Deep breathing ensures that more oxygen enters our blood. Fully oxygenated blood allows your body to absorb nutrients and vitamins more efficiently, which improves immunity.
When you regularly take deep breaths, your body will function more efficiently, including your intestines, due to healthier blood flow.
- Regulates blood pressure:
Deep breathing relaxes muscles and dilates blood vessels, which improves blood circulation, regulates heart rhythm and lowers blood pressure.
Deep breathing exercise focuses on filling the abdomen as you inhale, despite the chest. You can do it anywhere, so gradually incorporate this exercise into your daily routine and notice the difference within a few days. In addition to improving lung health, deep breathing helps reduce stress, anxiety, and muscle tension and strengthens our immune system.