Breathing is something you do automatically, without much thought, but did you know that proper breathing techniques can significantly impact your overall health and posture?
Studies show that proper breathing techniques influence physiological factors (stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system) and psychological factors (diverting attention from thoughts). Similarly, your posture affects your breathing quality, and your breathing, in turn, affects your posture.
Let’s explore the health and posture benefits of proper breathing and provide tips on incorporating proper breathing techniques into your daily routine. This way, you’ll learn how to take control of your breathing and improve your posture and overall health. You will also learn why you should consult a chiropractor in Waterloo to integrate proper breathing habits into your professional and personal life, especially when dealing with breathing problems.
Improper Vs. Proper Breathing
Improper breathing, also known as chest breathing, can involve shallow breathing, where the chest muscles are used more than the diaphragm. In this type of breathing, oxygen does not reach the lower lobes of the lungs. When you breathe shallowly, the chest muscles contract and the shoulders rise, which causes the lungs to only partially fill with air.
This type of breathing can decrease oxygen flow and contribute to mental health issues such as anxiety, stress, and fatigue. It can also lead to chronic muscle tension and poor posture.
Proper breathing, also known as diaphragmatic or belly breathing, is defined as deep and rhythmic breathing in which the diaphragm is used more than the chest muscles. This kind of breathing is more efficient at oxygenating the body and relaxing the nervous system.
What Are the Benefits of Proper Breathing for Your Health and Posture?
Improved lung function and oxygen flow
There are several ways proper breathing can help to improve lung function and oxygen flow. When you breathe deeply using your diaphragm, your lungs can expand and take in more oxygen, increasing lung capacity and improving overall respiratory function.
Increased lung capacity and oxygenation can also improve endurance and reduce fatigue during physical activity. It’s best to practice proper breathing techniques regularly with expert guidance, preferably from a medical professional or family chiropractor, to see the benefits.
Reduction of stress and tension in the body
Proper breathing can alleviate anxiety and tension by lowering stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. It signals your brain to activate the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). PNS regulates the body’s “rest and digest” functions. This slows your heart rate, easing body tension and helping reduce stress.
Your diaphragm, the muscle responsible for deep breathing, is connected to the neck, shoulders, and back muscles. Diaphragmatic or belly breathing relaxes these muscles, reducing tension and pain throughout your body.
Breathing correctly can also help to stimulate the digestive system and improve food movement through your gut. It relaxes your muscles, including those in your abdominal area, which can aid digestion by reducing constriction and discomfort. Proper breathing can also help increase blood flow to the digestive organs, enhance the absorption of nutrients, and reduce bloating and constipation.
Experts also recommend avoiding stressors since stress can negatively affect the digestive system. It may cause discomfort, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. Combining breathing techniques with a healthy diet and regular exercise can also improve the health of your digestive system.
Proper breathing techniques will also help you become more aware of your body’s alignment and posture. By incorporating proper breathing techniques, you can strengthen your diaphragm, which can improve posture by helping to keep your spine in a neutral position. As your diaphragm performs proper breathing, you can relax your muscles, specifically those in the neck, shoulders, and back (often constricted due to poor posture).
Higher energy levels
When your cells have a good supply of oxygen, they can function more efficiently. Proper breathing can help release endorphins, hormones that can help improve mood and reduce pain, leading to an overall increase in energy levels.
Increased blood flow
Diaphragmatic breathing can help improve venous return, the amount of blood returned to the heart. When you practice proper breathing regularly, the oxygen you inhale will reach the lower lobes of the lungs, where a significant amount of blood flow occurs. This improves the oxygenation of the blood, leading to better overall health and wellness.
Another way it can contribute to increased blood flow is that it can help to increase heart rate variability, which is the variation in time between heartbeats. This, in turn, improves the efficiency of your heart.
Improved sleep quality
Proper breathing can benefit your sleep quality since it allows the body to relax and recharge. As your parasympathetic nervous system activates, it slows down your heart rate. It promotes feelings of calm, which makes it easier to fall asleep.
Proper breathing techniques such as yogic breathing or pranayama can help to bring mindfulness and focus on the present moment, which can help to reduce the racing thoughts that may prevent you from falling asleep.
Tips on How to Incorporate Proper Breathing
Proper breathing is essential to maintaining your overall health and wellness. It can help reduce stress and tension, improve lung function, increase energy levels, and even improve sleep.
Here are some tips for incorporating proper breathing into your daily routine:
- Take a few moments throughout the day to focus on your breath. This can help you to become more aware of your breathing patterns and make it easier to make changes.
- Incorporate breathwork into your exercise routine.
- Some people find it helpful to use visual cues to remind them to breathe correctly. For example, you can place a reminder on your phone or in your work area to remind you to breathe deeply.
- Make sure to set aside time each day to practice proper breathing techniques. Start with a few minutes a day and gradually increase the time as you become more comfortable with the techniques.
- Practice diaphragmatic breathing before you sleep to promote relaxation and help you sleep better.
- Seek guidance from a professional, like a chiropractor or massage specialist. Yoga, meditation, and breathing classes or workshops can also provide advice and support to help you learn proper breathing habits.
Remember, it takes time and practice to develop new habits. Be patient with yourself, and don’t give up! With all the benefits of proper breathing for your health, posture, and well-being, it’s definitely worth the effort.
Why Consider Visiting a Chiropractic Clinic
Chiropractic massage and chiropractor neck adjustments Back and neck pain are not the only treatments chiropractors provide relief for. In fact, chiropractic adjustments are beneficial in improving breathing mechanics, allowing patients to breathe more air by increasing chest expansion and flexibility.
Chiropractors may also help with breathing problems. They may adjust your spine and address any misalignments or restrictions in the thoracic area, which can affect the function of the diaphragm and the lungs. They may also work on your rib cage and related muscles to improve respiratory function. It may come as a surprise to you that releasing the tension from the joints of your upper neck may have a significant effect on your ability to breathe with ease. This is because if you have significant upper neck tension, it causes physical stress on your nervous system – making you uptight. If we can relax your state of being by releasing this physical tension off your nervous system, it will be easier to breathe with ease.
There are several causes of breathing problems, including poor posture and neck or back pain. To know which chiropractic treatment or therapy suits you, consult one of our chiropractors at Fairway Chiropractic Centre. (There is only one chiropractor at Fairway Chiropractic Centre – please change the previous sentence appropriately.)
We’ll also help you understand all the benefits of visiting a chiropractor and provide tips on incorporating proper breathing techniques to avoid breathing problems. To book an appointment, call us at 519-748-5535.