The Benefits of Deep Breathing Exercises
We have all heard the term, “Just breathe!” when displaying overwhelm to our friends and loved ones. And, while that advice may have invoked an eye-roll or grunt of annoyance, the advice is solid. Deep breathing has several benefits and is as easy as pausing, focusing inward, and taking a minute to slow down.
What Are Deep Breathing Exercises?
According to Wonderopolis, adults take breaths up to 30,000 times a day or more. For most of those breaths, we aren’t even thinking about the inhale and exhale. It’s no wonder that taking control of the very thing that keeps our blood pumping can help us to calm down. Your breath is very powerful. By switching from short, frequent breathing to slow and controlled breathing, your brain releases endorphins that help you to calm down. This is why controlled breathing exercises are the foundation by which practices like yoga and meditation are built.
Instead of starting by listing the benefits of deep breathing exercises, let’s all pause together and try one.
Deep Breathing Exercise
Sit or lie in a comfortable position, and start breathing deeply, counting in for four beats, and out for four beats. Continue for four or five rounds. As you continue to breathe deeply, imagine your body is filling up with warm air, starting at your toes, and moving to your ankles, shins, knees, thighs, stomach, shoulders, up your arms, filling up to your head. Slowly. When you are completely filled with warmth, come back to your breath for 4 or 5 more rounds of 4 beats in and four beats out. Then, open your eyes. Do you feel a little lighter?
Benefits of Deep Breathing
If you just did that breathing exercise, you may notice a sense of calm or even elation. Our brains need a specific amount of oxygen each day to keep us happy and healthy. For many of us, we are running on E. Because we are focused on a million things a day, breathing falls by the wayside. By giving yourself a few minutes (even just one minute of intentional deep breathing), you are feeding your brain oxygen—helping you feel more focused and calm. Beyond that, deep breathing can reduce pain, increase your energy, and even lower your blood pressure.
Breathing to Reduce Stress
Stress is more prevalent now than ever, or at least more widely acknowledged. According to an article by The American Institute of Stress published in September of 2019, 83% of US workers suffer from work-related stress, and 55% of all Americans are stressed during the day. If you are between the ages of 30 and 49 years old, you are among the most stressed individuals in the country, followed closely by those between 15 and 29 years of age. So, we must find ways to reduce stress. Breathing exercises for stress like the one above can help.
Anxiety and Breath
Breathing improperly can exacerbate anxiety and panic. When we get anxious, our breathing starts to get short and choppy. It can feel like it’s hard to get a full, fluid breath in during these times. While it may be challenging to focus on anything but the thought at hand, focusing on breathing exercises for anxiety is helpful. By swapping your short, quick breaths for deep and intentional breathing, you can change your parasympathetic response. During anxiety, your body has a sympathetic response—simply put, that means your body thinks it is in danger. Think, fight, or flight. When the parasympathetic system is activated, it can lift your mood, induce calmness, strengthen your immune system, and even reduce your blood pressure.
Where To Learn To Breathe
Group exercise classes like yoga and mind/body classes like guided meditation often lead you through these exercises. In a session, an experienced instructor will ask you to inhale and exhale along with them, or with your own rhythm. With our new virtual fitness platform, iChuze Fitness, you can find guided meditations and yoga classes designed specifically to help you calm down, ground yourself, and focus on breath. It is essential to de-stress and focus on self-care to put your best foot forward every day. So, we have lined up your favorite instructors and wellness experts to help you do just that—anytime, anywhere.
You can try iChuze Fitness with our free 7-day trial. We offer yoga, group exercise, and plenty of opportunities for self-care (we are looking at you, HydroMassage), at all of our locations. Check out our website for details on pricing and membership options. We cannot wait to welcome you to the Chuze Family.