How Deep Breathing Can Help You Stay in Shape

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto

You might not think much about it — after all, breathing is done almost unconsciously. But did you know breathing exercises could help boost your fitness?

If you’re familiar with yoga or tai-chi, then you know that deep breathing is a critical part of these fitness programs. When you breathe in deeply, you engage the entire ribcage as well as the abdominal muscles. Keeping a certain rhythm and adjusting the depth of your breathing doesn’t just strengthen the lungs, it also helps take positive energy in. This is why breathing in deeply helps soothe feelings of anger, anxiety, or stress. When you breathe in deeply, you feel calmer and your mind is sharper and more focused.

Benefits of Deep Breathing and Breathing Exercises

Release Feel-Good Hormones

There is a reason why breathing deeply helps dissipate negative feelings like anger and anxiety. Breathing exercises release endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that alleviate pain and uplift the mood. As you breathe deeply in and out, you engage your diaphragm. The diaphragm starts moving upward and downward and this facilitates in the elimination of toxins. It also helps increase blood flow to the heart, brain, and lungs, filling the important organs with oxygen to build energy.

Improve Mental and Physical Functions

Because the process of breathing deeply in and out increases oxygen level in the blood cells, breathing exercises help improve mental functions, increase concentration, and even boost physical stamina! The result? You feel healthier, fitter!

Release Tension from the Body

Going through your tasks every day could take a toll on your body. When you’re stressed or worn out, tension will start building in the muscles. Your blood vessels are constricted and your blood pressure will climb up. Breathing deeply helps release tension so the muscles are relaxed. Your blood vessels will dilate from the increased level of oxygen while minimizing stress in the arteries as blood pressure normalizes.

Purify the System

Did you know breathing exercises could help detoxify the system? Habitual breathing exercises help improve lymphatic system functions. This facilitates in the elimination of toxins in the body. Impurities and harmful compounds are easily released as waste when you breathe deeply. What’s more, once your body is thoroughly cleansed from toxins, the organs become even more productive because no energy is wasted on keeping harmful compounds out of the system.

Simple Breathing Exercise

Find the quietest, most comfortable spot in your home. Sit on a mat, close your eyes, and free your mind from any visual or audio stimuli for at least five to ten minutes. Start relaxing your muscles, focusing on areas where muscles are strained, stressed, or full of tension. Shift your focus on breathing.

Inhale deeply, fill your lungs with air and bring it into your abdomen, not the chest. As you inhale, count to five. Exhale deeply, allowing your lungs to empty itself completely. Again, count to five as you exhale. Release the tension from your muscles as you continue breathing in and out for several minutes, counting slowly to five seconds each time.

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