reathing happens subconsciously. You inhale and exhale at least 17,000 times daily, but that does not mean you are doing it right.
Correct breathing involves breathing using your nose and belly, also known as deep breathing or diaphragm breathing. When you inhale through the nose, the belly moves outwards, causing the lungs to expand and fill with oxygen. Speaking of correct breathing, here is our guide on how to breathe while mewing.
In this article, we discuss the ten benefits of proper breathing.
1. Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Most people do shallow breathing when stressed, drawing in air to the lungs using the intercostal muscles, not the diaphragm muscle. This action draws in small amounts of air, meaning only the upper parts of the lungs receive oxygen. Shorter breaths trigger the release of cortisol (the stress hormone) to cause elevated stress levels.
Fortunately, taking conscious deep breaths can calm the mind. For starters, it takes your mind off the stress and anxiety. It also expels cortisol from the body.
Additionally, deep breaths activate the vagus nerve that regulates most internal organ functions, including heart rate, digestion, and immune system. Once activated, it sends chemical signals to certain brain parts that improve mood.
2. Reduces Tension and Migraines
Stress often triggers migraines and headaches. But with slow, deep breathing exercises, you can calm the sympathetic nervous system to reduce muscle tension and headaches. Breathing helps you relax, thus easing the pain.
Deep breaths improve the brain's oxygen supply, relieving migraines. In fact, oxygen therapy helps with headache disorders. Moreover, correct breathing releases endorphins, hormones that act as natural painkillers.
3. Improves Cognitive Function
According to multiple studies, deep breathing exercises help improve cognitive functions. They activate the brain parts related to memory and cognition, such as the cortex, amygdala, and hippocampus.
4. Lowers Blood Pressure
Taking slow, deep breaths can reduce sympathetic activity and lower blood pressure. In fact, deep breathing exercises are as effective as blood pressure medication, lowering the risk of stroke or heart disease.
However, consistency is essential as exposure to stress- or anxiety-provoking scenarios can spike blood pressure.
5. Improves Heart Functions
Deep breaths also improve the strength and endurance of the heart’s muscles. The increase in oxygen improves blood circulation and lowers blood pressure, reducing the strain on your heart.
6. Improves Lung Functions
Proper breathing also improves respiratory functions. The improved oxygen levels strengthen the lung muscles and increase their elasticity, which reduces breathing problems among persons with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorders (COPD).
7. Better Sleep
When you practice deep breaths during the day, it calms your mind and reduces stress and anxiety. Since you are in a better state of mind, sleep improves. Additionally, with consistency, diaphragm breathing becomes a natural part of your day and night routine.
8. Improves Digestion
When the lungs receive sufficient oxygen, it is transported to other vital organs like the kidneys, liver, stomach, pancreas, and bowels. In return, you enjoy better digestion and bowel movement.
9. Develops Better Posture
Poor posture contributes to shallow breathing, but you can correct this with breathing exercises. Deep breathing involves lying down or sitting with relaxed shoulders and an aligned spine to optimize the diaphragm function. Maintaining this position is an excellent start to correcting your spine curvature.
10. Speeds up Recovery
Did you know viruses and bacteria do not thrive in highly oxygenated blood? Deep breathing lowers the likelihood of infections for faster healing. Moreover, correct breathing relaxes muscles and lowers stress to improve overall well-being.
Correct breathing offers numerous benefits for your health. It reduces the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, improves learning and memory, and reduces stress and anxiety. Always inhale through the nose as feel as your belly and lungs fill with air, hold in for a few seconds and then exhale.