DEEP BREATHING EXERCISES TO BOOST FOCUS AND ENERGY
JAN 5, 2020 @ 5.44PM
Taking a few moments each day to practice deep breathing exercises can decrease stress, relax your mind, body and can help you sleep better. While there are numerous benefits, here are some important ones that will motivate you to deep breath.
1. Natural painkiller
When you deep breath, the body raises your levels of endogenous endorphins - the body’s natural painkillers. This helps not only improve your well-being but also act on pain centers of the brain – which helps diminish the perception of unpleasant physical sensation caused by illness or injury.
2. Improves blood flow
Carbon dioxide is a natural toxic waste that comes out from our body only through breathing, thus deep breathing helps to release pent up toxins. According to research, deep breathing can release as many as 70 per cent of toxins in your body thus improving blood flow and detoxifying the body.
3. Improves organ function
Deep breathing affects abdominal organs. When you practice deep breathing, your diaphragm moves up and down which massages the liver, small intestines, pancreas and stomach, in addition to the heart. This increases circulation to these areas, so they function better.
4. Tones abdominal muscles
Deep breathing tones and strengthens the abdominal muscles. Although it won’t give you a nice ‘six pack’, your muscles however will function better resulting in a strong abdominal musculature.
5. Improves posture
A good posture is essential to practice deep breathing exercises. When you breath deeply, your body starts to straighten up and when you fill your lungs with air, you automatically straighten up your spine.
6. Increases energy levels
Deep breathing energizes the mind and the body – giving you the extra energy you need to exercise or to simply go about your normal daily activities.
7. Reduces inflammation
Deep breathing is said to reduce acidity, thereby making it alkaline. This helps lower the stress levels in your body.
8. Improves the regeneration of your cells
Deep breathing improves the regeneration of your cells. Your body is making and breaking down cells all the time. Deep breathing can positively affect the cellular regeneration process by giving your system the oxygen it needs.
9. Reduces cortisol levels
Deep breathing reduces cortisol levels. High cortisol levels increase your glucose levels and promotes the deposition of fat in your fatty tissues.
10. Fight or flight response
Deep breathing fights the “fight or flight response.” Excess stress causes your adrenal glands to release norepinephrine, epinephrine and cortisol—all hormones that increases blood sugar, blood pressure and respiratory rate among other things. Deep breathing counteracts this function of the sympathetic nervous system so you have decreased levels of these hormones and will consequently reduce your risks of the many health ramifications of chronic stress.
11. Improved flexibility
When you improve the oxygenation and blood flow to your joints and muscles – you move easier and your musculoskeletal system is less tense. This allows your joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons to be more relaxed, so your flexibility improves.
12. Don’t lose focus
Deep breathing oxygenates your brain and decreases detracting thoughts so that you can function better with an increase in concentration.
13. Prevent shortness of breath
Shortness of breath occurs with shallow chest breathing – which doesn’t inflate the lungs all the way. Deep breathing exercises, on the other hand helps to breath maximally – reducing the effects of shortness of breath.
Learning to breath deeply:
Learning to breath correctly and doing deep breathing exercises is more than an inhale followed by an exhale.
Deep breathing involves breathing through your abdomen rather than simple chest breathing. When you breath through your abdomen, you get a deeper breath that goes further into your lung tissue, allowing greater oxygenation.
It generally involves taking a deep breath through your nose, holding it for a few seconds, and then breathing out through your nose. A single deep breathing cycle lasts about 19 seconds—four seconds for inhalation, a 7 second hold, and 8 seconds for exhalation.
The 4:7:8 deep breathing routine:
1. Let go of all thoughts and clear your mind
2. Slowly breathe in through your nose (4 seconds)
3. Hold that breath for 7 seconds
4. Exhale through the mouth, exhale at twice the speed it took to inhale (8 seconds)
Tips to improve deep breathing:
• Start with a deep inhalation through your nose. Use your diaphragm to expand your abdomen and to fill your lungs with oxygen. This should just take a few seconds.
• Hold your breath and count for an additional three seconds. Allow yourself to feel the energy build up inside you.
• Exhale fully through your nose, although you should part your lips slightly to let air escape through your mouth to a mild degree. This exhalation should be done over a period of about three seconds.
• Focus on relaxing your muscles and feel the oxygen flowing throughout your body.
• Repeat for another breath and do this for at least 10 - 20 minutes daily to reap maximum benefits.
Make deep breathing a priority. Doing this in the morning gives you extra energy throughout the day, while doing it in the evenings help you wind down and relax.
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