Breathing is something everyone does everyday. However, most adults do not breathe correctly. As people move from child to adult, they subconsciously begin to breathe shallower. Deep breathing exercise increases oxygen intake, helping the blood to circulate better and carry more of that oxygen to other organs throughout the body.
It is all about the oxygen. Insufficient oxygen causes the body to become tired, tense, and more susceptible to illness. Organs that do not have enough oxygen will operate sluggishly and inadequately.
How Does Breathing Exercises Increase Heart Health?
- Lowers Blood Pressure. High blood pressure is one of the main enemies of the heart.
- Alleviates stress.
- Increases physical energy that promotes heart healthy physical exercise.
How to do Breathing Exercises
The Relaxing Breath or 4-7-8 exercise is an ancient yogic breathing exercise that is practiced by the most famous of natural health promoters. Dr. Andrew Weil, a long standing natural health guru, has promoted this type of exercise for decades.
When doing this exercise, remember it is not how fast or slow it is done at first, it is the 4-7-8 ratio that counts. The count of each part of the exercise can be adjusted to how long an individual can hold their breath. Ideally, once a person gets the hang of the exercise, they will be able to do the counts: 4 inhales, 7 hold 8 exhale; relaxed and slowly.
How to do the 4-7-8 exercise:
- Place your tongue on the alveolar ridge of the mouth. That is the ridge between the front teeth and the roof of the mouth. Keep the tongue there during the exercise.
- Exhale completely through the mouth. This will make a whooshing sound.
- To begin the cycle: close the mouth; breathe in quietly through the nose for a count of 4.
- Hold the breath for a count of 7.
- Exhale through the mouth for a count of 8. This completes the cycle.
- Repeat for a total of four breath cycles. Do this exercise two times per day.
Deep breathing exercise will help retrain the body to breathe correctly. This naturally produces more energy and stamina. This is also called, abdominal or belly breathing.
How to do deep breathing exercise:
- Sit or stand straight, using good posture.
- Breathe in through the nose, making sure that the tummy, not the chest, extends out as if very full.
- Exhale completely through the mouth. This complete one breath cycle.
- Repeat the breath cycle 4 or 5 times, two times a day.
Doing these exercises twice a day for 21 days will form a habit of correct and healthy breathing. Individuals who change the way they breathe; deep verses shallow, will notice an increase in energy and a decrease in fatigue.
The increased oxygen will help all the vital organs, including the heart, to work smoothly and at optimal performance.