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14 Amazing Health Benefits Of Breathing Exercises!

By Dr Prachi Garg +2 more

Breathing exercises heal us in many ways. They have immense physical, emotional, mental and spiritual benefits.  Breathing exercises help us tremendously in reducing stress and relax. They also improve the efficiency of our lungs.

The best thing about breathing exercises is that they are easy to learn and can be practised anywhere. They do not require any special pieces of equipment.

Benefits of Breathing Exercises Are:

  • Reduce Stress and Anxiety:

Breathing Exercises increase our oxygen intake and calm our mind. They are shown to be highly effective in reducing stress and anxiety.  [1]

People practicing breathing exercise

Also Read: 7 Relaxation Techniques That Help You Relax

  • Improve Quality of Sleep:

Breathing exercises relax our body and calm down our mind. They help us to get rid of stress and anxiety.    Breathing exercises thus help us in getting a good night sleep. [2]

Also Read: 6 Health Benefits of Sleep

  • Enhance Cognitive Functions:

Performing breathing exercises on a regular basis is associated with improved concentration and focus. They also enhance our memory and improve our decision-making abilities.  [3]

  • Improve Cardiovascular Health:

Performing Breathing exercises regularly helps to maintain our blood pressure levels and helps patients with hypertension. This reduces the incidence of stroke and heart diseases.

Thus, breathing exercises are extremely beneficial for the health of our cardiovascular system.  [4]

  • Good for our Lungs:

Breathing exercises improve the functioning of our lungs. [5]
They have proved to be immensely beneficial for patients with chronic lung diseases like Asthma, Emphysema, Bronchitis, COPD etc.  [6]

  • Detox our body:

Performing breathing exercises helps our body to get rid of toxic gases and carbon dioxide, thus detoxifying our body. [7]

  • Good for our Digestive System:

Performing breathing exercises regularly ensures smooth functioning our digestive system and helps to get rid of gastrointestinal issues like flatulence, constipation, bloating, indigestion etc. [8]

They also provide relief from symptoms of GERD ( Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease ). [9]

  • Give a Glow to our Skin:

Breathing exercises like pranayama increase the supply of oxygen,   which  increases the blood thrush and improves the appearance of skin. It also detoxifies blood which results in younger and glowing skin.

  • Fight Sinusitis:

Breathing Exercises help in the treatment of chronic sinusitis. [10]

  • Help in Weight Loss:

Breathing Exercises activate our abdominal muscles.

Kapalbhati Pranayama helps to get rid of belly fat and tones the abdominal muscles. [11]

  • Improve Immunity:

Breathing Exercises improve the defence mechanism of our body, thus boosting immunity. [12]

  • Anti-ageing:

Breathing exercises help in slowing down the ageing process.  [13]

They help to maintain body weight, prevent wrinkles and keep skin glowing, reduce stress, strengthen abdominal muscles, correct bad posture etc.

  • Lowers Inflammation  

A study conducted by BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine reported that doing breathing exercises for as short as 20 minutes can reduce significantly, stress indications of inflammation when measured in one’s saliva.  

Researchers took the saliva of twenty participants and examined the degree of cytokines in the body which are a kind of biomolecule.

  • May Benefit Joint Pain

When you include breathing exercises in your routine, it elevates the level of oxygen in the cells and has a positive effect on the joints.

  It makes the muscles and joints strong and prevents the chances of wear and tear. Breath exercises minimise the strain of physical exercise and improve the ability of the body to handle intense physical workouts.  

From what I have seen, engaging in deep breathing, whether during breathing exercises or even at rest, may have positive effects on diaphragm function and lung capacity. It might help in restoring the proper functioning of the diaphragm and improve the capacity of the lungs to hold and exchange air.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Types of Breathing Exercises:

If you feel motivated after going through this article and are planning on incorporating breathing exercises into your morning or evening routine from tomorrow itself, here are some top exercises to try:

  1. Pursed Lip Breathing  
  • Keep Neck and shoulders relaxed
  • Inhale slowly through the nose for 2 counts as you keep the mouth closed  
  • Purse your lips similar to when you whistle  
  • Exhale very slowly as you blow through the pursed lips to a count of 4  

2. Breath Focus Technique  

  • Lie down or sit comfortably  
  • Become aware of your breathing  
  • Alternate between deep and normal breaths  
  • Compare how you feel about deep breathing and shallow breathing  
  • Practice deep breathing for a couple of minutes
  • Keep your belly relaxed and put one hand right below the belly button. Notice how the belly rises and falls with each inhale and exhale  
  • Practice this breath focus exercise with visual imagination and a word or phrase that will help you relax each time you visualise it.  

3. Diaphragmatic Breathing

  • Lie flat on the back with your knees bent and your head on a cushion or a pillow
  • You can also place a pillow below the knee for added support
  • Place one hand on the upper chest and the other on the rib cage so that you can feel as your diaphragm moves
  • Inhale through the nose and feel the stomach press into the hand  
  • Keep the other hand very still  
  • Through your pursed lips, exhale very slowly as you keep the stomach muscles very tight  

4. Alternate Nostril Breathing  

  • Find a comfortable seated position and put the right hand to the nose  
  • Press the first and middle fingers down toward the palm and leave the other fingers elongated
  • After each exhale make use of the right thumb to close the right nostril gently
  • Now inhale through the left nostril and close the left nostril with the ring finger and right pinky
  • Now do vice versa
  • Continue this pattern for up to 5 complete cycles  

Also Read: Benefits of Turkey Tail Mushroom: A Research-Supported Health Exploration

5. Lion’s Breath

  • Find yourself in a comfortable seated position
  • Press the palms against the knees with the fingers spread wide  
  • Inhale deeply through the nose and open wide the eyes  
  • Simultaneously, open your mouth as wide as possible and stick your tongue out
  • As you exhale, contract the muscles at the front part of the throat. Make a ‘ha’ sound as you exhale  
  • Do this technique 3 to 4 times  

From my perspective, one of the benefits of incorporating breathing exercises into your routine is the improvement in muscle function during exercises. This may also reduce the risk of strain or injury to your muscles.

Dr. Smita barode, B.A.M.S, M.S.

6. Resonant Breathing  

  • Inhale and exhale for a count of 5  
  • Continue the pattern a few times  

7. Equal Breathing  

  • Find yourself a comfortable seated position
  • Slowly breathe in and out through the nose  
  • During each inhale and exhale, count to make sure the same duration is maintained  
  • Continue for 5 minutes at least  

8. Deep Breathing  

  • You can either stand or sit for this one
  • Slightly draw your elbows back to open up the chest  
  • Inhale deeply through the nose  
  • Hold onto your breath for a count of 5  
  • Release the breath slowly by exhaling through the nose  

9. Sitali Breath  

  • Sit comfortably in a quiet room  
  • Stick your tongue out and curl it to bring together the outer edges  
  • If your tongue is unable to do this exercise, you can do it through pursed lips alternatively  
  • Inhale through the mouth and exhale through the nose  
  • Continue the pattern for up to 5 counts  

10. Humming (Bee) Breath  

  • Sit comfortably and close your eyes
  • Keeping your face muscles relaxed put your fingers on the tragus cartilage that covers the ear canal partially  
  • Inhale and while you exhale, gently press the fingers into the cartilage  
  • Keep the mouth closed and make a loud sound like that of a humming bee
  • Do this technique for as long as you please

In my opinion, breathing exercises may improve your respiratory health and make you feel better overall. Breathing exercises, when done regularly, may help freshen up your lungs by getting rid of stale air and increasing the amount of oxygen in your body.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Conclusion

The health benefits of breathing exercises are many and the side effects are almost none. They are easy to do and require little supervision from experts once you have learnt the technique correctly. The only requirement to reap the health benefits of breathing exercises is to do them regularly. However, if you do feel any discomfort after practising the breathing exercises, notify your doctor right away.

Also Read: 8 Types of Breathing Exercises Your Body Will Love

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