Breathing exercises can help you increase lung function and decrease heart rate. Lungs and heart work together by transporting and pumping oxygen which is required by every cell in our body. To breathe, means to live.
However, people use only a fraction of their breathing capacity which leaves a lot of space for improvement. Also, by practicing deep breathing you can accustom your body to a corect form of breathing which then becomes a second nature to you as well as the breathing itself.
You have to do breathing exercises as long as you are alive and kicking, in order to keep their beneficial effects, same as with jogging, sprinting or weight lifting. You have to train these respiratory muscles, too.
We usually breathe with our chest, which is known as shallow breathing.The right way to breathe means to use your diaphragm. Diaphragm is a muscle located at the bottom of the rib cage which divides the abdomen and the chest. It is important for our breathing function, especially during intense physical activites, among other.
When your belly expands instead of your chest, it means that you are using the right form by contracting and relaxing the diaphragm instead of the rib cage. It is known as deep breathing as well as the belly breathing, diaphragmatic breathing or abdominal breathing. This is were breathing exercises "come in handy".
The breathing is done by taking slow, deep breaths of air and holding it for a for a few seconds, followed by a slow exhalation through the mouth. If you are doing it right, after a minute or two of deep breathing, you will notice a change in your voice. It may become a little bit deeper and more clearer.
Also, you can inhale through the nose, which is prefered or through the mouth. However, when taking the air in, through the mouth, don't try to do it, too quickly. When it comes to position, you can lie down or sit up straight, whichever you find more comfortable.
HEART DISEASE AND BREATHING EXERCISES
These exercises can help a lot, in improving few components of the cardiovascular system. The most obvious, is their effect on the blood pressure. To test the theory, take two readings of your blood pressure. For the first one, just sit down and measure your blood pressure as you normally would.
Now, take a break and practice deep breathing for 2-3 minutes. Then, measure your blood pressure, again and compare the results. You should notice a big difference between the first and the second test which shows you just how effective these breathing exercises can be.
Not only that, but they work really fast. Now, imagine you have a 20 or 30 minute session, every day or every couple days, for few weeks or months. You would experience fenomenal results, especially when it comes to your blood pressure.
However, they can also help you lower the heart rate, significantly. These exercises work in a couple of ways such as relieving stress and anxiety which causes blood pressure and heart rate to decrease. Besides lowering blood pressure, they may also reduce frequency of irregular heart beats and lower the risk of heart failure.
I started doing them in order to increase my lung capacity for the summer but I have also seen some great improvements regarding my blood pressure, heart rate and heart function in general.
While exercises such as jogging and sprinting can help improve lung function, breathing exercises can be even more effective than these two, combined.
At first I started jogging which did improve my endurance and lung capacity to some degree. As I learned new things, I decided to add sprinting into my schedule, including hill sprints which in combination with jogging increased my endurance and lung capacity, significantly. I could be under water much longer than before.
However, since I love snorkeling, I was looking on how to improve my lung capacity even more which lead me to breathing exercises. I also found out that these exercises can help my heart too which was an added benefit.
Anyway, I started doing breathing exercises a year later, couple of months before the summer, besides doing my cardio workouts. When the summer came, I was ready as I could possibly be. I felt like I am scuba diving instead of snorkeling, thanks to my greatly improved lung capacity.
Although, endurance and especially my heart function were improved, I didn't even realize how much bigger my lung capacity was, until I dive under for the first time that summer. These exercises can strenghten respiratory muscles which leads to increased exercise capacity, better lung function and higher blood oxygen levels.
By improving lung function you are reducing the burden on the heart muscle. More oxygen means that the heart can work less because there is higher amount of oxygen in the blood, thanks to improved lung function. As a result, blood pressure and heart rate, decrease.
If you are just starting to preform breathing exercises, you may feel dizziness in the beggining. It is usually caused because of incorrect technique by breathing too quickly or not exhaling completely which can cause an increase of carbon dioxide in your blood thereby making you dizzy.
It may take a little bit of time, in the beginning, to perfect the technique and to get used to deep breathing, in order to avoid this. However, if you are still experiencing dizziness, even after you have mastered the technique and preformed these exercises for several weeks, consult with your doctor. In this case, dizziness may be caused by some medical condition.
Besides improving heart and lung function as well as lung capacity, breathing exercises can also release the tension and calm down the central nervous system. This makes them very useful in treating stress related conditions such as anxiety and depression because of which they are integral part of meditation and other relaxation methods.
Not only does deep breathing relieves emotional pain and stress but it can also improve mood, mind-body connection, brain function, nervous system function, mental clarity and other metabolic functions. This includes digestion processes, cellular oxygenation and regeneration as well as detoxification.
Combining jogging and sprinting with deep breathing exercises will help you achieve optimal results regarding heart rate, blood pressure and heart function. The best of all, these excercises are free, simple and it is very easy to include them into your daily schedule. I usually do them at night, before sleep.
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