How a 16-minutes breathing exercise affects your general health
What’s the simplest yet most effective way to improve your health? Easy — changing your breathing technique. From professional athletes to health freaks, everyone is concerned with how they breathe. In fact, they care about it just as much as they’re about their eating patterns and healthy diets.
There’s a good reason for that. Even a simple deep breathing technique that lasts for about 16 minutes can help reduce stress and, in turn, up your overall mental and physical health. So, allow us to lead you through the effects of breathing exercises in our general health guide, shall we?
It Reduces Your Anxiety
The main reason most people begin to practice breathing exercises is stress relief. But how does that work? What does breathing have to do with feeling better about stressful situations? Namely, these techniques increase the amount of oxygen in your body, which, in turn, lowers your blood pressure. Furthermore, deep breathing positively affects your heart rate and finally releases tension in your abdomen.
All these changes in your body are responsible for how you feel mentally. When you feel stress, your blood pressure rises, your heart rate goes up, and your breathing becomes shallow and fast. However, if you take time to breathe in through your nose deeply, you will do the complete opposite and relieve stress. The best part about this is that you can do it anywhere. At work, home, or in your car, it doesn’t matter.
Your Lungs Are Strengthened
Another positive from deep diaphragmatic breathing is that it increases your lung capacity. But what is that? In essence, lung capacity describes how much air you can hold inside your chest. As we age, this capacity decreases. Moreover, some pulmonary diseases can significantly damage it as well. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t keep it at a certain, healthy level. To do so, you need a proper breathing technique.
There are two main ways to strengthen your lungs. The first one is diaphragmatic breathing, and the second is pursed-lips breathing. Our 16-minute technique falls under the first category. With relaxed shoulders and lying down, you place your arms on your belly and start inhaling through your nose. As you’re doing that, your arms will feel how your abdomen is filling out with oxygen and exhale through your mouth.
Reduces Blood Pressure
When it comes to your blood pressure, breathing can be more than helpful in reducing it and making you feel much better. In essence, our nervous system is behind the fight or flight reflex that helps us deal with dangerous situations. However, due to many instances that we perceive as negative in our daily lives, our nervous system triggers the mentioned response every so often, making our blood pressure dangerously high.
The deep breathing exercise we’ve mentioned in the paragraph above can help set things straight. In scientific terms, it activates the counter system (parasympathetic), which leads to the rest and digest response. It, in turn, slows your heart rate and allows blood to come to all your extremities. This is why we call it the digest response, as the digestive function returns back to normal. For better results, we suggest that you sit or lie while breathing like this.
Improves Memory and Brain Functions
Deep breathing exercises are also great for numerous brain functions as well as memory. It can also reduce brain fog and improve focus. But what’s the catch here? The main thing is a hormone called noradrenaline, which functions as a neurotransmitter and acts up thanks to proper breathing. However, when you’re not doing it the right way, its production slows down and, in turn, you feel discombobulated.
With the mentioned 16-minute breathing technique, you activate the rest and digest setting of our nervous system. And aside from reducing your blood pressure, it helps produce noradrenaline. This way, your brain functions increase, as well as your focus. This can be helpful in any part of your life, be it professional or private. It can help you achieve work goals faster or be more mindful in social situations.
Gradually Stops Sinusitis
Is there a worse thing one can experience than a constantly runny nose? Well, there are many probably, but that doesn’t change the fact that sinusitis is an awful condition. Luckily, by breathing properly, you can stop it once and for all. With your shoulders straight and inhaling through your nose, your nostrils will unclog in no time. But how does this work? Is it just a myth, or is there a medical explanation behind it? Let’s find out.
The explanation behind this bold claim is actually pretty simple and medically based. A proper breathing technique isn’t just a temporary thing. The main thing is that breathing through your nose forces your nostrils to become wider. By doing so, the oxygen has more space to push the secretion out and prevent blockage. Once you begin practicing it, it becomes a routine. As such, it trains you to subconsciously keep doing it all day, every day.
All in all, proper breathing has numerous pros for your overall health. The best part is that this and other breathing exercises don’t take very long, and you can do them several times a day. Once you get the hang of it, it will turn into your routine, so you won’t even pay attention to how you breathe. You’ll simply be doing it the right way. You should, therefore, start practicing it as soon as possible.