Benefits of Deep Breathing On Your Physical and Mental Health
The only thing common between all living things is- We all BREATHE!
Be it the small planter placed in the corner of your room or your pet painting on your coach or you reading this blog. We are all breathing!
However, while they can’t circulate their breath we Homo sapiens can!
So, why not do it and avail the physical and mental health benefits it has to offer.
One of the best breathing exercises that can work wonders for you is DEEP BREATHING.
There are various deep breathing exercises that you can practice. But, before learning about these exercises let us quickly review the physical and mental health benefits that deep breathing has to offer you.
Physical Health Benefits of Deep Breathing
Here are a few benefits to deep breathing:
1. Deep breathing encourages full oxygen exchange.
The beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide can be achieved through deep breathing. It allows the lungs to fully exhale the buildup of carbon dioxide from your bloodstream. Plus, organs are supplied with the proper amount of oxygen for their optimal functioning. These benefits, in turn, control the heartbeat and stabilize blood pressure.
2. Deep breathing reduces bodily tension.
Just like stretching deep breathing too helps loosen tight muscles and in releasing tension that is usually built up from stress that we face in our day-to-day lives.
3. Deep breathing detoxify your body
Deep breathing alone is proven to reduce toxins from your body up to 70% (that’s a lot). Putting out these toxins outside of the body not only makes our body healthy but our brain as well.
4. Deep breathing tones your abdominal muscles
When we do deep breathing the oxygen reaches our abdominal rather than just staying till the chest. This further helps our abdomen muscles to get toned. And no muscle toning doesn’t promise a six-pack but surely a strong abdominal musculature.
5. Deep breathing reduces your pain
The level of natural pain-killing hormone- Endogenous endorphins rise in our body with a regular deep breathing exercise. These hormones decrease the perception of pain and improve overall well-being.
6. Deep breathing assists in weight control
Deep breathing improves weight in both the conditions- overweight and underweight. If someone is overweight deep breathing can help your body fat burn efficiently. However, in the case of underweight people, deep breathing provides the required amount of oxygen to body tissues, helping the body gain the necessary weight.
7. Deep breathing improves the digestion
We all are aware of the fact that oxygen improves the functioning of our digestive tract. When digestive organs receive proper amount of oxygen, their ability to absorb nutrients increases.
8. Deep breathing boosts the immune system
When you deep breathe the oxygen reaches the cells of your entire body system including the immune system. When the cells of your immune system derive necessary nutrients from oxygen it is enhanced.
Mental Health Benefits of Deep Breathing
1. Deep breathing relieves stress
Stressors are everywhere around us be it financial, personal, or professional. But, with a decrease in the level of perception of stress, we not only feel stressful but also gain emotional stability. This goal can be achieved by deep breathing.
2. Deep breathing helps you be mindful
Being mindful is simply all about our ability to be in the present moment rather than swinging in the future or dwelling in the past. Deep breathing is one such exercise that can help you be mindful as it allows you to be in your current situation by feeling grounded.
3. Deep breathing improves memory
Hippocampus is the center of our memory. It is responsible for our short-term memory and turns the same into long-term memory. When the hippocampus is oxygenated it gives us a better chance to remember things more clearly, thus boosting our memory.
4. Deep breathing boosts cognition
When the brain is fully oxygenated and so are the nerve cells through deep breathing your cognition improves. It allows you to think more clearly and have a better thought process altogether.
5. Deep breathing promotes good sleep
Doing a 5-minute deep breathing exercise right before going to bed helps you to improve the sleep. When you relax your mind from the entire day’s chaos and take it into a restful state it not only makes you fall asleep early but also improves the quality of your sleep.
6. Deep breathing enhances learning ability
Deep breathing can improve your ability to learn as it facilitates our ability to assimilate new information without any difficulty. Apart from this, it increases our concentration by decreasing thoughts and ultimately improving our learning ability.
7. Deep breathing reduces anxiety
When we encounter any anxiety-provoking situation in our lives we lose our clarity to think. Under such situations, if we pay attention to our breathing and practice deep breathing exercises, the brain will get the required amount of oxygen for its optimal level of functioning. This, in turn, gives brain clarity to think in the right direction.
8. Deep breathing reduces depression
One of the major reasons for depression is low levels of certain hormones like- serotonin and norepinephrine. Deep breathing levels of these hormones can improve with an increase in the level of oxygen in the brain. Thus, it helps reduce the signs of depression.
9. Deep breathing improves self-image
Physical appearance is found to be linked with our self-image via various studies. With deep breathing flattening out the abdomen, toning our muscles, and managing our weight, our appearance is surely going to enhance. This isn’t turning boosts our self-image.
Deep Breathing Exercises For You to Try:
With all these benefits to offer let us learn some effective deep breathing exercises.
1. Resonant breathing exercise
Just follow these three easy steps
- Inhale for a count of 5 (1… 2… 3… 4… 5…)
- Exhale for a count of 5 (1… 2… 3… 4… 5…)
- Continue this breathing pattern for at least a few minutes.
2. 4-7-8 breathing exercise
All you have to do is-
- Inhale for 4 seconds
- Hold your breath for 7 seconds
- And exhale for 8 seconds with your mouth open
3. Pursed Lip breathing exercise
Follow these steps:
- Relax your neck and shoulders
- With your mouth closed, inhale slowly through your nose for 2 counts (1…2…)
- Purse or pucker your lips as though you were going to whistle.
- Exhale slowly by blowing air through your pursed lips for a count of 4 (4…3…2…1…)
You can try all of them and make deep breathing a part of your lifestyle. Or you can just pick one and practice it religiously.
Whichever exercise you pick it is recommended to practice them for 5-10 minutes, thrice a day.
Some General FAQs About Deep Breathing Answered For You:
How often should you practice deep breathing?
Ideally there is no time restriction or timeline associated with deep breathing. Whichever exercise you pick it is recommended to practice them for 5-10 minutes, thrice a day.
You can practice it more often depending on how you are feeling.
What does deep breathing do for you?
You can think of deep breathing as the personal SOS system for your body. Whenever there is a bodily emergency like when you start feeling anxious or when overwhelming emotions drain you, deep breathing is the first resort of treatment for your body to cool down and relax. It helps calm your nerves and the parasympathetic nervous system which goes in alarm mode in case of perceived threat (internal or external).
Can deep breathing be bad for you?
Ideally speaking “NO!” Deep breathing is not at all good for you. However, it should be done in a proper manner and correctly (step-by-step). As it involves multiple internal systems working on it (nose, belly, lungs, and more) it is advised that you practice it with precision. Also, if you have any breathing issues, it is recommended that you practice it only after consulting your health expert.
Now that you know about one simple trick that can help you a long way to maintain your physical and mental health, don’t miss on implementing the same.
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