Breathing is usually an unconscious activity we take for granted – until we get a cold, or a condition that makes it harder for us to breathe effortlessly. Sometimes we need to know how to breathe better,especially while working out or dealing with a medical condition such as asthma or bronchitis. You might have heard of various techniques where you may be able to breathe better through the mouth, rather than nose, or vice versa. This article will give you some information on how to improve your breathing depending on your different needs.
5 Approaches to Help You Figure Out How to Breathe Better
1. Use Pursed-Lip Breathing
This practice can improve air exchange in the lungs. Breathing with lips being pursed can slow down your breathing and keeps airways open, which avoids the lungs being trapped with air. This breathing practice also reduces your work of breathing and increases the duration of your exercise or any activity.
How to breathe better with pursed lip breathing:
- Inhale through the nose for two seconds.
- Purse your lips as if you're going to blow.
- Exhale very slowly through your lips, 2-3 times for as long as you inhaled.
- Repeat the procedure.
2. Use Abdominal Breathing
Your diaphragm is a large muscle in the abdomen that is used for breathing. If you have chronic lung disease, your diaphragm doesn't function as well in breathing; the muscles in your neck, shoulders, chest and back work instead, to help you breathe. Unfortunately, these muscles don't function as efficiently as the diaphragm in moving air to the lungs. So you need to train your diaphragm to function better.
How to breathe better with diaphragmatic breathing:
- Sit or lie down with your shoulders relaxed.
- Put one hand on the chest and the other hand on the belly.
- Breathe in through the nose for two seconds.
- Notice that your belly moves outward more than the chest.
- Slowly breathe out through pursed-lips, while gently pressing on your abdomen. This pushes up your diaphragm and helps get air out.
3. Clear Mucus from Airways
Clearing mucus helps keep airways open and makes it easier for you to breathe. It can also prevent infections by clearing mucus timely. Here are 2 possible ways helping you clear the airways.
4. Adjust Breathing in Activities
During a physical activity, you can better manage your breathing with these adjusting steps.
- First, try to stop activity.
- Then reset breathing. Just sit down and relax, breathe with pursed-lips.
- Continue activity while breathing through pursed-lips.
5. Apply Relaxation Techniques
Shortness of breath can cause fear, anxiety and panic, which makes it even harder to breathe. Use techniques such as positive imagery or yoga to relax and be able to breathe better. Here are 2 ways of relaxation you can try:
Adjust Body Position
For better relaxation and breathing, you can adjust to a more relaxing positon, making the breathing process much easier.
Different Exercises Require Different Breathing Techniques
When it comes to the issue how to breathe better, you should understand that different exercises require different breathing techniques.
Experts recommend inhale once for every two strides, and exhale after another two strides (2:2 rhythm). As for breathing pass ways, some hold for breathing through mouth, which causes no hardness and gives less resistance. While experts stick to the nose breathing, because it can warm up the air in cold weather and calm the blood circulation. An acceptable practice for you is to test the airways firstly and opt for the ways you feel more comfortable.
2. Strength Training—Exhale During Exertion
The key tips of strength training is to breathe out while exertion. During strength training such as bench press, exhale slowly while pressing thenstart to inhale at the top of the lift. The contraction of the respiratory muscles adds support while doing strength training and keeps the core strong to protect the spine. Also, just don't forget to exhale because holding your breath too long can hamper blood return to the heart, which can raise blood pressure.
Click the video to find out explanation about how to breathe better during strength training and cardio exercises:
3. High Intensity Sports
Take deep breaths and brace the core during high intensity sports. This also helps protect the spine. Breathe from your diaphragm, not your chest. Let your rib cage expand from top to bottom and from back to front.
Practice equal breathing, where you inhale and exhale at equal lengths. This style of breathing calms your nervous system, lowers blood pressure, and reduces stress. Many yogis also simply inhale and exhale through the nose, while maintaining the back of the throat slightly contracted. Remember to avoid holding your breath when doing yoga poses.
Click the video to find out an illustration about how to breathe with better practices:
Lifestyle Changes for Better Breathing
If you are trying to figure out how to breathe better, lifestyle changes are essential for improving breathing process.
1. Avoid Gluten
Many people who have asthma are also sensitive to a protein called gluten, which is found in rye, oats, wheat, barley, and other grains products. Find gluten-free options like quinoa, millet, coconut flour, buckwheat, brown rice, red rice, wild rice andblack rice.
2. Eat Less Sugar
Many asthma sufferers are sensitive to both natural and artificial sugars. If you are looking for something sweet, eat fruit and use natural stevia to sweeten your beverages.
3. Avoid Dairy Products
Cheese, butter, milk, ice cream and cream increases mucus and inflammation, and aggravate respiratory conditions. Choose dairy-free beverages such as almond milk or coconut milk. Look for dairy-free cheese and avoid those that contain casein.
4. Take Supplements
Try to breathe better? Supplements can help. Supplements like vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and vitamin D can help improve immune system function as well as respiratory function. Ask your doctor about taking supplements to help you breathe better.
Working out properly can help you breathe better because muscles use oxygen efficiently, which is also good for your lungs. Walk outside or pedal on a stationary bike. Work out using light hand weights and stretch regularly.
6. Practice Healthy Habits
Be sure to get enough rest and sleep. Quit smoking! If you are not a smoker, avoid inhaling secondhand smoke. Healthy habits can help lot on the issue how to breathe better.