A calm ocean as a metaphor of healthy breathing

Breathing Tips for Better Health

During the last few weeks the weather has been dry but the air has been cold. This cold air can affect many people with breathing issues. Exercising, such as running or walking in the cold air can be difficult for many people. A night time run can feel like a stressful chore rather than something fun and enjoyable.

In dealing with this challenge it is important to focus on HOW we breathe during exercise and in our day to day lives.

Breathing is the vital force that keeps us alive. It is so basic to our existence that many people take it for granted and do not give much attention to how they breathe. But how we breathe is worth paying attention to. Here are some simple tips about how we breathe.

Cold air can make exercise difficult

If cold air makes breathing difficult during exercise it is important to

give attention to how the air is being breathed in. In simple terms it is vital that anyone who finds breathing difficult in the cold gives full attention to always breathing through the nose. One of the main functions of the nose is to warm the incoming air into the body. When we mouth-breathe we bypass this vital function of the nose.

It may mean slowing down when exercising at first but with time your body will adapt and nose breathing can become second nature.

TIP 1 Always breathe through the nose in cold air. The nose warms incoming air.

Over-breathing stresses the body

If vigorous exercise is stressful this is our body telling us that we are putting it under too much pressure. For anyone who finds exercise more of a chore than the fun experience it should be it is a sign that over-breathing is taking place. When we have control of our breathing we have balance in our bodies and exercise is fun and enjoyable, even running up a steep hill! With practice it is possible to develop a level of control over our breathing. There are simple exercises that help us gain mastery over our breath and enjoy the benefits of nose breathing when at rest or when doing vigorous exercise.

TIP 2 During the day try to give some attention to your breathing and gently try to quieten it and reduce it. Good breathing is quiet, easy and barely noticeable. Always breathe through the nose.

How we breathe affects our sleep quality

Waking up tired and exhausted is the norm for a lot of people. Snoring and sleep apnea are common. Many people see no way of improving their energy levels in the morning and accept waking up without any energy as just part of who they are. It does not have to be that way. How we breathe during sleep greatly affects how we feel in the morning.

The quality of our sleep is vital to our health and well being.

TIP 3 Give yourself 15 mins every night before sleep and focus on your breath. Gently reduce your breathing by taking less air into your nose until you are breathing as quietly as you possibly can. Focus just on the air entering and exiting your nostril and try to bring the volume of your breathing down. Try to sleep with mouth closed. Use 3M micropore tape over lips if mouth opens during sleep.

How to break the cycle of a coughing fit

This time of year there are many colds and influenzas going around and many people are stuck with persistent coughs. The problem with coughing is that the more we cough the more we want to cough! The coughing can get worse and worse with seemingly no relief! It is vitally important to try to gain control of our breathing again and to break the cycle of the cough.

TIP 4 When you have a cough deal with it like this. Suppress the urge to cough and take a small breath in through your nose and a small breath out. Hold your breath for 5 seconds. Then breathe normally through the nose for 10 seconds. Once again take a small breath in through the nose, a small breath out and hold breath for 5 seconds. Then breathe normally for 10 seconds again through the nose. Keep repeating this cycle for a few minutes until coughing eases. This is an excellent way of breaking the coughing cycle and gaining control over the breath again.

These are just some of the areas we cover in Buteyko Breathing Technique courses. I look forward to helping people over the upcoming months and years. Call Brian on 087 7738616 or visit yourbreath.ie to book a place on a course or a one to one session. Lessons also available now by SKYPE. 

Courses running in CORK CITY and BANTRY.

Your Breath is within Your Control,

Best Wishes, Brian

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