At the end of September I attended a fitness conference and one of the presenters spoke on breathing and more importantly the importance of how you breath.
I know it seems like a totally redundant topic to talk on the importance of breathing, I mean it’s something we do everyday all day. It’s a necessity of life.
Try This: take a deep breath in and exhale. Now do it again, this time pay attention to what your body does. When you inhale do your shoulders lift up or does your stomach expand? Hold on to that, we’ll be come back to it.
It turns out breathing in and having the shoulders and chest lift excessively puts an extra strain on the neck muscles leaving us with tight, and sore neck and shoulders. Breathing this way is also a sign that the individual is under a lot of stress in their daily lives. Incorrect breathing can also be linked to numerous issues;
~ Musculoskeletal imbalances
~ Biomechanical imbalances
~ Digestive imbalances
~ Mental/Emotional problems
~ Cognitive problems
A large portion of breathing properly is also your posture. Your lungs can not expand fully if you are slouched over.
What do I mean by breathing incorrectly? Well for starters lets look at what breathing should look s like:
- To initiate a breath in you draw air through your nostrils. Your diaphragm descends causing the belly to expand and the rib cage should expand in every direction smoothly.
- Your belly should expand and take up 2/3 of this action while your chest should only take part in a third.
- When you exhale the diaphragm ascends and the rib cage contracts, and air is expelled.
So, Bad breathing can look something like this.;
~ The belly doesn’t expand fully
~ The shoulders and chest lift up excessively.
~ Rib cage expands in a choppy manor.
All of the above are me, and that’s not so great.
Try Again: Sit up tall, take a deep breath, focus on
pushing your belly out as far as it can go, Try and get the bottom half of your lungs (the belly) to fill first and the top half last. How did that feel? For me I feel tightness located at the top of my abs, as well as in my upper back. This tells me that I need to focus on stretching these
areas to allow my lungs to do their job properly.
Now all of this said, changing your breathing isn’t
something that you can do overnight. It’s something you have to be mindful of at all times. You are basically
changing a habit that you’re body has had for all the years you’ve been alive.
Challenge: Take a few minutes a day, and start focusing on your breathing. Try and tune in to how your body is responding to your requests. If you feel you have some stiff areas, drop by and see me for some targeted
Your body can not run without oxygen. You may find that altering your breathing gives you more energy, reduces your stress, increases your ability to lift, or your ability to run for longer periods of time.
For more information visit www.chekinstitute.com