With every waking day and even as we sleep, our bodies automatically breathe for us to stay alive. But sometimes restricting our breathing or not being aware of our breathing patterns, can hinder our own productivity as our bodies struggle to receive the air it needs to function perfectly. According to a 2006 medical study on posture and breathing, people with bad posture produce the worst expiratory flow, which can reduce lung capacity and oxygen intake by up to 30%. Reduced oxygen intake can cause stress on the heart, increase fatigue, and elevate cortisol levels, which could then cause you to experience insomnia, weight gain, and mood swings.
You may feel that you are breathing correctly but to be sure, try this basic breathing exercise to understand what good breathing should feel like.
- Lie flat on your back with your legs straight or bent.
- Place one hand just below your ribcage and the other hand on your chest.
- Inhale slowly and watch your chest rise, then
- Exhale while tightening your core, imagine that you are releasing all the carbon dioxide from your body.
This exercise may require quite a bit of energy at first and could even feel tiring but the more you practice, the better you’ll become at breathing correctly.
Here are some more breathing exercises, geared towards feeling relaxed and renewed:
To feel energised:
- Stand or sit up straight.
- Breath deeply from the abdomen and hold for about 20 seconds.
- Exhale strongly, releasing all air,
- Then let your breath take on a rhythmic nature while keeping your chest firm.
To feel relaxed:
- Stand or sit upright,
- Close your right nostril, using your thumb and breathe in steadily through the left nostril, while counting to 4.
- Hold your breath without strain, while counting to 15, then
- Close the left nostril and exhale through the right nostril, while counting to 8.
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