Are you a belly breather or chest breather? If you’re like 90% of people, you probably aren’t aware that the way you breathe can drastically affect your day to day energy levels. However, the way we breathe is hugely important.
The majority of people, for example, are chest breathers. Simply put, this means that we pull air into our lungs by pushing our chests outwards. What we should be doing, however, is using breathing techniques which pull air deep into our lungs by pulling our diaphragm downwards.
How Breathing Techniques and Stretching benefit us Physically
If you are a belly breather, a simple conscious effort to pull the diaphragm downwards will have beneficial effects on everything from your circulatory system to your physical appearance and immune system. By taking in more oxygen, we give our body direct access to more energy and exhale much more metabolically toxic carbon dioxide.
In fact, it’s partly because of these simple benefits alone that breathing exercises have been such an essential part of yogic and meditative teachings for so long. Modern sports science has also researched and proven that stretching and different breathing techniques play a huge role in not just preparing the body for exercise, but also relieving stress and facilitating better recuperation after exercise.
What Stretching & Breathing Techniques Should you be Adopting?
The secret to achieving better health and well-being through breathing exercises is simply to become more aware of your diaphragm. A great way to do just this is to use an inflatable exercise ball to lie back on and practice gentle abdominal massage like stretching. This will help loosen tight muscles in your abdomen which interfere with how easily you can expand and contract your diaphragm. The result? Easier, healthier day to day belly breathing which will eventually come about with little or no conscious effort.
To go one step further, yoga and pilates are a second great way for people to learn to stretch and breathe more fluidly. Just remember to never approach breathing techniques and stretching exercises as a passing fitness phase. Beneficial physical results, after all, will only come about after long, steady practice, not just half an hour every week whenever you next remember!