How to Breathe in a Better Way

The question of how to breathe better seems funny. However, you can get a lot improvement in breathing with the effective and healthy approaches listed here!

Breathing is usually an unconscious activity we take for granted – until we get a cold, or a condition that makes it harder for us to breathe effortlessly. Sometimes we need to know how to breathe better, especially while working out or dealing with a medical condition such as asthma or bronchitis. You might have heard of various techniques where you may be able to breathe better through the mouth, rather than nose, or vice versa. 

5 Approaches to Help You Breathe Better

1. Use Pursed-Lip Breathing

This practice can improve air exchange in the lungs. Breathing with lips being pursed can slow down your breathing and keeps airways open, which avoids the lungs being trapped with air. This breathing practice also reduces your work of breathing and increases the duration of your exercise or any activity.

How to breathe better with pursed lip breathing:

  • Inhale through the nose for two seconds.
  • Purse your lips as if you're going to blow.
  • Exhale very slowly through your lips, 2-3 times for as long as you inhaled.
  • Repeat the procedure.

2. Use Abdominal Breathing

Your diaphragm is a large muscle in the abdomen that is used for breathing. If you have chronic lung disease, your diaphragm doesn't function as well in breathing; the muscles in your neck, shoulders, chest and back work instead, to help you breathe. Unfortunately, these muscles don't function as efficiently as the diaphragm in moving air to the lungs. So you need to train your diaphragm to function better.

How to breathe better with diaphragmatic breathing:

  • Sit or lie down with your shoulders relaxed.
  • Put one hand on the chest and the other hand on the belly.
  • Breathe in through the nose for two seconds.
  • Notice that your belly moves outward more than the chest.
  • Slowly breathe out through pursed-lips, while gently pressing on your abdomen. This pushes up your diaphragm and helps get air out.
  • Repeat.

3. Clear Mucus from Airways

Clearing mucus helps keep airways open and makes it easier for you to breathe. It can also prevent infections by clearing mucus timely. Here are 2 possible ways helping you clear the airways.

Via coughing

Other methods

  • Sit on a chair with feet flat on the floor while holding a pillow against your upper belly. Slowly breathe in and breathe out through the nose. Repeat 3-4 times.
  • Breathe in again, while bending forward, and pushing the pillow against the belly. Cough two to three times while pushing the pillow.
  • Relax and repeat until the mucus is cleared.
 
  • Postural drainage—this technique uses gravity to move mucus out of the airways.
  • Chest physiotherapy performed by a physical therapist.
  • Use devices such as the Flutter and the Acapella device.

4. Adjust Breathing in Activities

During a physical activity, you can better manage your breathing with these adjusting steps.

  • First, try to stop activity.
  • Then reset breathing. Just sit down and relax, breathe with pursed-lips.
  • Continue activity while breathing through pursed-lips.

5. Apply Relaxation Techniques

Shortness of breath can cause fear, anxiety and panic, which makes it even harder to breathe. Use techniques such as positive imagery or yoga to relax and be able to breathe better. Here are 2 ways of relaxation you can try:

Muscle Relaxation

Adjust Body Position

  • Sit upright with arms naturally hanging on your side. Breathe slowly, deeply, and evenly.
  • Then clench fists and continue breathing. Shrug your shoulders then tighten fists. Count 1 to 2.
  • Let shoulders fall. Open hands then let arms hang loose. Count 1 to 4.
  • Tense your leg and foot muscles. Count 1 to 2.
  • Relax completely. Count 1 to 4.
  • Repeat.

For better relaxation and breathing, you can adjust to a more relaxing positon, making the breathing process much easier.

  • While you are sitting, you can sit with slightly leaning forward. And support your upper body by resting the hands/forearms on the knees or on table.
  • When you are standing, rest against the wall, while leaning slightlyforward.

Different Exercises Require Different Breathing Techniques

When it comes to the issue how to breathe better, you should understand that different exercises require different breathing techniques.

1. Running

Experts recommend inhale once for every two strides, and exhale after another two strides (2:2 rhythm). As for breathing pass ways, some hold for breathing through mouth, which causes no hardness and gives less resistance. While experts stick to the nose breathing, because it can warm up the air in cold weather and calm the blood circulation. An acceptable practice for you is to test the airways firstly and opt for the ways you feel more comfortable.

2. Strength Training—Exhale During Exertion

The key tips of strength training is to breathe out while exertion. During strength training such as bench press, exhale slowly while pressing thenstart to inhale at the top of the lift. The contraction of the respiratory muscles adds support while doing strength training and keeps the core strong to protect the spine. Also, just don't forget to exhale because holding your breath too long can hamper blood return to the heart, which can raise blood pressure.

Click the video to find out explanation about how to breathe better during strength training and cardio exercises:

3. High Intensity Sports

Take deep breaths and brace the core during high intensity sports. This also helps protect the spine. Breathe from your diaphragm, not your chest. Let your rib cage expand from top to bottom and from back to front.

4. Yoga

Practice equal breathing, where you inhale and exhale at equal lengths. This style of breathing calms your nervous system, lowers blood pressure, and reduces stress. Many yogis also simply inhale and exhale through the nose, while maintaining the back of the throat slightly contracted. Remember to avoid holding your breath when doing yoga poses.

Click the video to find out an illustration about how to breathe with better practices:

Lifestyle Changes for Better Breathing

If you are trying to figure out how to breathe better, lifestyle changes are essential for improving breathing process.

1. Avoid Gluten

Many people who have asthma are also sensitive to a protein called gluten, which is found in rye, oats, wheat, barley, and other grains products. Find gluten-free options like quinoa, millet, coconut flour, buckwheat, brown rice, red rice, wild rice andblack rice.

2. Eat Less Sugar

Many asthma sufferers are sensitive to both natural and artificial sugars. If you are looking for something sweet, eat fruit and use natural stevia to sweeten your beverages.

3. Avoid Dairy Products

Cheese, butter, milk, ice cream and cream increases mucus and inflammation, and aggravate respiratory conditions. Choose dairy-free beverages such as almond milk or coconut milk. Look for dairy-free cheese and avoid those that contain casein.

4. Take Supplements

Try to breathe better? Supplements can help. Supplements like vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and vitamin D can help improve immune system function as well as respiratory function. Ask your doctor about taking supplements to help you breathe better.

5. Exercise

Working out properly can help you breathe better because muscles use oxygen efficiently, which is also good for your lungs. Walk outside or pedal on a stationary bike. Work out using light hand weights and stretch regularly.

6. Practice Healthy Habits

Be sure to get enough rest and sleep. Quit smoking! If you are not a smoker, avoid inhaling secondhand smoke. Healthy habits can help lot on the issue how to breathe better.

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