Breathing Basics

Asian man taking a deep breath outside.

Breathing is something we do without thinking, our lungs bringing in oxygen and removing carbon dioxide, super simple right? But are you breathing correctly? Patrik Edblad says you can be messing up your sleep, mood, digestion, heart, nervous system, muscles, and brain by not breathing correctly. So how are supposed to breathe? Well here a few tips:

1. Breathe through your nose

You may have heard the saying “in through your nose, out through your nose… ever wonder why! Well it is because our bodies were designed to take our breaths like this. Breathing in and out of our nose help take in more oxygen, as well as stop any foreign air particles from going into our lungs.

2. Breathe with your diaphragm

Your diaphragm is a large muscle that helps with our breathing, your abdominal muscles move the diaphragm to give you more power to fill and empty your lungs. Harvard Health explains that diaphragmatic breathing encourages full oxygen exchange, taking in oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide.

3. Breathe rhythmically

Edblad says it perfectly “everything has a natural rhythm – the ocean waves, the seasons, the moon. Our body is no different”. Be in tune with your body and breathe in a relaxed manner that has a natural rhythm.

young girl deep breathing

If you feel like you are having a harder time breathing as you get older, it is helpful to know that it is scientifically proven that as we age our bones thin and can change shape, “which can affect the shape of your rib cage. This causes a reduction in rib cage expansion potential” (Kendal). This is all natural and is part of aging, by trying these exercises you are engaging in deep and concentrated breathes.  

Live Well. Age Well.

“Learning Diaphragmatic Breathing.” Harvard Health, https://www.health.harvard.edu/lung-health-and-disease/learning-diaphragmatic-breathing.

“Common Breathing Problems in Older Adults & What You Can Do About Them.” Kendal at Home, https://www.kendalathome.org/blog/breathing-problems-in-older-adults.

“Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercises & Techniques.” Cleveland Clinic, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/9445-diaphragmatic-breathing.

Lawrence, Gwen. “Breathing Is Believing: The Importance of Nasal Breathing.” Gaiam, https://www.gaiam.com/blogs/discover/breathing-is-believing-the-importance-of-nasal-breathing.

Edblad, Patrik. “This Is How to Breathe Properly: A Surprisingly Important Guide.” Medium, Better Humans, 22 Mar. 2018, https://medium.com/better-humans/this-is-how-to-breathe-properly-a-surprisingly-important-guide-e65935f21c30. “6 Breathing Exercises for Older Adults.” Kendal at Home, https://www.kendalathome.org/blog/bid/317355/breathe-easy-six-breath-exercises-for-older-adults

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