Relax, breathe and exercise
Yes, you read that right, and the words could be in any order and achieve a myriad of results and health benefits and a moment of calm.
We all breathe in different ways, and we all do it without a moment's conscious thought. Think about the last time you thought about breathing, if you meditate maybe, after heavy exercise perhaps. In meditation, it helps focus from thinking about thinking, so it is a distraction technique, after training, it's more likely 'shit that was hard work!'.
Take a breath.
Now take a moment, close your eyes (ha, read this and then close your eyes!), how does your breathing feel? Quick, slow, variable, shallow, deep, noticeable, or barely rise and fall of the chest or stomach.
It is likely that your breathing is consistently like that.
Now take a moment, close your eyes, take a deep breath in and then out, did your chest rise, did your belly expand, how long did it take, did you expel all the air from your lungs, did you pause before breathing out and before breathing in again?
How did that feel? Different I would imagine
Now the exercise
Check out my video here, it saves more writing and while not the exercise, you can watch my daughter giggling while trying to breathe.
Known as diaphragmatic breathing, it helps exercise one of the most important muscles we have and musculature of the ribcage.
Try taking five good deep breaths now, close your eyes (not yet) and count one on the in-breath and two on the out-breath, three in, four out, etc. up to ten. Pause at the top and bottom of each cycle and make the out-breath longer trying to expel all the air from your lungs. How does that feel, something to practice potentially?
There are variations; you can lay with your on the floor with your feet on a chair with the knees bent and you can when really breathing into your tummy, place a weight on your belly to give the diaphragm something to push up.
We should all be able to take a full breath in almost any position with the body under any load or stress so you can vary this any way you want really, play with it and see how it feels.
- Core stability – The diaphragm is the top of all the core muscles, yep, it's not just the abs, and everyone needs a reason to stop doing planks!
- Less energy – when the diaphragm is strong, it takes less energy and slows the rate of breathing. If you find yourself breathing high in the chest or panting, you can tire more quickly as the rate of breathing increases.
- Mobility – practising breathing helps keep the upper body, including the neck, upper back, chest, and intercostal musculature moving well. Again panting or short breaths can cause this whole area to tighten up.
The best one, it can help you relax, and relaxing reduces the stress hormone, cortisol, which can have detrimental effects throughout our whole body.