Eating healthier or doing exercise is a great idea, however, there are many ways in which breathing exercises can help you become healthier as well.
Breathing is free, and although it is already an essential activity, it can help reduce stress, improve energy levels and overall health.
As we get older stress can have a significant impact on our health. The use of focused breathing has been around for centuries and there are real benefits in overall health by having a few deep deliberate slow breaths a few times a day.
Deep, slow breathing allows the levels of a hormone called oxytocin to increase. Oxytocin acts like our own built in “anti-anxiety medication,” as it reduces levels of a stress hormone called cortisol.
Everyone knows that reducing stress levels allows us to change our attitude from negative to positive, and that it has a real impact on how we interact with our environment. In addition to alleviating stress, and improving health, deep breathing has also shown that it can improve our immune system.
Sixtyandme have provided a deep breathing guide for you to follow:
- Start by sitting comfortably in any position and put your hands on your chest and stomach.
- Next, start to breathe from your abdomen, not from your chest. This practice of abdominal breathing is known as “belly breathing.”
- Continue to focus on your breath until you feel your stomach rise and fall.
- When you inhale, breathe in through your nose.
- Hold your breath for a few seconds and then exhale through your mouth.
- Exhaling should take twice as long as inhaling – this is how we prolong the breath and achieve a more meditative state.
- Try 4 seconds to inhale, 7 seconds to hold, and 8 seconds to exhale.
- Let go of other thoughts while you breathe.