Growing up as a severe asthmatic, I learned very early in life about the importance of sufficient oxygen consumption. Also, the effects of inadequate intake. Proper breathing is a vital key to every type of training! It’s also a skill that requires a great deal of practice to master. Learning to control your breathing can take your levels of training/exercise to a whole new level.
Poor breathing robs energy and negatively affects mental alertness and physical performance.
Rapid, Shallow Breathing is often caused by poor posture and weak or stiff muscles, and leads to poor oxygen supply, respiratory disease, sluggishness, and/or heart complications.
Stiffness of the rib cage and surrounding muscles causes inhalation to become more difficult. Less elasticity and weak muscles leave stale air in the tissues of the lungs and prevents fresh oxygen from reaching the blood stream.
Here are a few breathing exercise techniques that have helped me along the way. The following exercises are simple and can deepen breathing, cleanse the lungs, and improve overall quality of life. Follow the steps and reap the benefits.
Lie flat on your back to get a proper sense of deep breathing.
Place your hands palm down on your stomach at the base of the rib cage. Lay the palms of your hands on your stomach just below the rib cage, middle fingers barely touching each other, and take a slow deep breath, in through your nose; breathing into your stomach.
This movement indicates full use of the lungs, resulting in a truly deep breath rather than the “puffed chest” breath. Chest breathing only fills the middle and upper parts of the lungs, while “belly breathing” fills the lungs to capacity, and is the most efficient method.
Step by step BREATH EXERCISE
1. Sit up straight, exhale
2. Inhale through your nose and, at the same time, relax the belly muscles. Feel as though the belly is filling with air.
3. After filling the belly, keep inhaling. Fill up the middle of your chest. Feel your chest and rib cage expand.
4. Hold the breath in for a moment, then begin to exhale as slowly as possible.
5. As the air is slowly let out, relax your chest and rib cage. Begin to pull your belly in to force out the remaining breath.
6. Close your eyes, and concentrate on your breathing.
The importance of breathing can not be stressed enough!!!
Learning to breath properly can also increase strength and force generation. The effects of intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) are surprisingly ignored by many trainers and trainees. IAP is built through controlled diaphragmic breathing. Many martial artists and professional strong men have used these techniques to reach the top of their game for centuries. IAP will be respectfully addressed in another post…