Breathing or Respiration is not just the single most important bodily function but it is the essence of life. The lungs are the main organs of respiration. They are equipped with gas exchange mechanisms that effectively allow oxygen from the inhaled air to enter the blood and carbon dioxide from the blood to diffuse into the air we breathe out. The heart works closely with the lungs to circulate the oxygenated or pure blood throughout the body and to pump the impure blood back to the lungs
Do you know what ‘lung capacity’ is? It is the total amount of air that your lungs can hold at a given point in time. Our lung capacity and lung function typically decrease as our age increases. Some heart and lung conditions can significantly speed up these reductions in lung capacity and functioning leading to difficulty in breathing and shortness of breath. During exercise, the heart and the lungs work much harder to provide the extra oxygen we need. Breathing exercises are designed to retrain the muscle of respiration and improve gas exchange and oxygenation. This type of exercise also improves the overall endurance and ability to do activities of daily living.
Breathing consists of two parts:
- Inhalation (breathing in)
- Exhalation (breathing out)
Proper breathing should be deep, slow, rhythmic and done through the nose. Breathe in slowly and imagine your lungs filling up with air, your chest slightly widens, your diaphragm pulls your chest cavity down and your belly button pulls away from your spine as you breathe in. When your lungs are full, breath out slowly and pull your belly button back in towards your spine to push out all of the air from the lungs.
Who can do?
All individuals with heart and lung ailments; and healthy individuals.
- Improves ventilation
- Improves strength, endurance and coordination of respiratory muscles
- Improves chest and thoracic spine mobility
- Corrects inefficient and abnormal breathing patterns
- Improves overall functional capacity
- Promotes relaxation
- Quiet area
- Remove restrictive clothing
- Comfortable and relax position sitting, standing or lying
- Never do forced exhalation(breathing out slowly just enough to empty your lungs)
TYPES OF BREATHING EXERCISE
- Relax your shoulders and sit back or lie down
- Place one hand on your belly and one on your chest
- Breathe in through your nose, feeling the air move into your abdomen and feeling your stomach move out, your stomach should move more than your chest does
- Breathe out through your mouth while pressing on your abdomen
- Inhale slowly through your nostrils
- Purse your lips, as if pouting or about to blow on something
- Breathe out as slowly as possible through pursed lips, this should take at least twice as long as it did to breathe in
Take a deep breath and just enjoy your life