Breathing Techniques For Better Lung Health

The very first thing we do after birth is to take a breath. Through the lungs, oxygen is delivered to every cell in the body, and carbon dioxide is released as waste. However, our ability to breathe and use our lungs is often taken for granted. The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us of the value of our lungs, which we tend to take for granted until we have trouble breathing.

Although a person’s oxygen capacity in their lungs is fixed, there are techniques to improve your lungs’ ability to regulate airflow and oxygen levels through exercise. Here are some easy workouts to help you strengthen your lungs and increase their capacity for oxygen absorption.

1: Pursed-lip breathing 

The pursed-lip breathing technique is simple and may be practised anywhere. This physical activity helps you maintain an open airway, which improves your lung’s ability to take in and expel air. These aid in the transfer of oxygen and carbon dioxide, allowing the lungs to perform better. This is a good workout for those who are less active and who don’t often use their breathing muscles. Actions after pursing the lips –

Maintain an upright posture to encourage normal breathing.

A deep breath in through your nostrils.

Make a pouting motion with your lips.

Slowly exhale via tightly closed lips. 


2: Diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing 

The diaphragm is a dome-shaped sheet of muscles located between the chest and the abdomen, and one of the finest ways to use it is through diaphragmatic breathing. This type of breathing is often referred to as “belly breathing” since it is characterised by a rising and falling stomach with each breath. It’s the fundamental method of breathing, but most of us have gotten into the bad habit of restricting our breath by using the muscles in our necks and backs. Here are some easy methods to help you get started with diaphragmatic breathing:

Relax your body by lying flat on your back.

Gently place your hands on your stomach.

Take a deep breath in through your nose and focus on expanding your tummy while keeping your chest still as you exhale.

Hold your breath for two seconds and feel your tummy pull in as you exhale. 


3: Rib stretch 

The term “rib stretch” implies just what it says: stretching the ribs, which are always in motion as you breathe. 

Keep your hands on your hips and your back straight.

Take a few deep breaths and fill your lungs up.

Don’t breathe for at least 20 seconds, or as long as you can stand it. 

Just let out a long, deep breath.


4: Yawn to smile 

This movement frees up your diaphragm and builds robust pectoral muscles. 

Raise yourself up onto the edge of a bed or chair.

Raise your arms in the air.

Make a big opening like you’re about to yawn.

Lower your arms and maintain a grin for a full three seconds.


5: Humming 

The lungs benefit from any exercise that strengthens the abdominal muscles. Humming might help you breathe easier and further. As a bonus, it helps expel old air from the lungs and make room for new, clean air to enter. It helps the patient relax and stay in recovery mode.

6: Simhasan or Lion pose 

This unusual stance calls for a vocalisation. The noise made in Simhasana is meant to evoke the roar of a lion. 

Knees should be as far apart as comfortable, and the toes of both feet should contact.

Propel yourself ahead a little bit. Put the floor between your knees and rest the palms of your hands there.

Make a little arc with your back and tilt your head back.

The tongue should be drawn as far out towards the chin as possible when the mouth is open.

Make a ‘ahh’ sound in your throat as you let out your breath through your mouth.

Once you’ve finished exhaling, close your mouth and take a deep breath in. 

The last position is one of complete relaxation.

Benefits of breathing exercises 

  1. They help you unwind physically.
  2. Their use increases oxygen flow.  
  3. Benefits include lowering cortisol levels (cortisol is a stress hormone) and boosting energy levels through detoxification.
  4. Your heart rate drops, which helps alleviate tension.  
  5. Benefits patients with diabetes and hypertension by lowering blood pressure.
  6. Aids in building stronger abdominal muscles, especially when combined with stretching and breathing exercises
  7. Strengthens your respiratory system to withstand more strenuous exercise later on.  
  8. Those suffering from asthma, COPD, or other lung conditions may benefit greatly from an increase in lung flexibility.
  9. Long-term improvements in lung capacity and diaphragmatic strength can be achieved with simple daily breathing exercises.  

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