How Deep Breathing Benefits Your Health
Everyone breathes. It’s something we often take for granted. It turns out, however, that most of us don’t do it correctly. Chest or thoracic breathing is found in over 50 percent of adults, and it contributes to a number of problems, like rapid heartbeats and low blood oxygen levels.
Diaphragmatic or belly breathing is what we should aim for, where every deep breath goes straight to the lungs and fills the body with oxygen. Deep breathing benefits both physical and mental health. It alleviates stress, improves confidence, and helps create better blood circulation.
Breathing is free and effortless. It’s something we don’t have to put thought into. It generally doesn’t require any type of equipment and can be done anywhere that oxygen is present.
The Benefits of Deep Breathing
The benefits of proper breathing are many. It has been found that people who practice deep breathing only ten minutes a day have better health and improved disposition. Wondering how deep breathing can benefit you? Here are 13 of the amazing benefits of deep, belly breathing.
The body deals with a lot of toxins; everything from air pollution, to contaminated water, everyday foods and much more. Breathing is the body’s way of releasing those toxins and purifying its systems. When we don’t take deep breaths, the body is less efficient at releasing toxins. This makes the other systems in the body overloaded as they work to detoxify the blood, often leading to illnesses. When you inhale and exhale deeply, the body releases carbon dioxide, and along with it many toxins.
Shallow breathing is linked to stress and anxiety. In fact, shallow breathing and anxiety disorders often go hand-in-hand. Shallow or constricted breathing occurs when we are in fight-or-flight mode, telling the body that we are unsafe. This results in anxiety, panic, and hyperventilation as the body prepares for danger. You can often see this dramatized in movies and TV shows when people begin breathing rapidly when they are panic-stricken.
The key to alleviating anxiety and stress is to take deep breaths. It fills your body with oxygen, releases tension, and normalizes your heartbeat, creating a feeling of calm. If you suffer from anxiety or panic disorders, deep breathing can provide relief.
3. Calming Effect
The fastest way to feel calm in any situation is to breathe through the belly. Deep breathing benefits our mental and emotional health because that’s how we’re meant to breathe in the natural state. When we take deep breaths, we stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, triggering a relaxation response. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, just a few minutes of deep breathing will fill your body with oxygen and help you feel calm and relaxed.
4. Feel Energized
When we take deep breaths, more air is drawn into our lungs. Since the lungs help generate maximum blood flow, proper air supply to the lungs is critical. Improved oxygenation of the blood also results in an enhanced metabolism and greater energy. With the proper oxygen supply, all your organs are revitalized, filling you with more energy and vigor each day.
5. Improved Digestion
When the body receives more blood, the organs (including the digestive system) work more efficiently. When your system is detoxified and energized, it helps improve both digestion and appetite. Since our mood is always responsible to a great extent for our appetite and digestion, deep breathing aids in promoting better digestive health through relieving stress and anxiety.
6. Increased Cardiovascular Capacity
Many of us don’t realize that deep breathing is a great exercise for the body. Even if you can’t regularly work out or have health restrictions that prevent you from exercising, you can still get the benefits of exercise simply by practicing deep breathing every day. Deep breathing enhances your cardiovascular capacity and burns fat easily. If deep breathing is practiced in addition to exercise, it may result in improved cardiovascular capacity.
7. Regulate Weight
Another wonderful benefit of deep breathing is that it helps regulate weight. If you are underweight, proper breathing will supply the tissues and cells with more oxygen. If you are overweight, the oxygen will help burn extra fat on the body. When we take shallow breaths, the body ends up burning glycogen instead of fat. When we take deep breaths, it can help us remain relaxed and burn fat.
8. Improved Posture
Several studies have found that incorrect breathing and incorrect posture are directly related. When your posture isn’t correct, it can be difficult to engage in diaphragmatic breathing. When we deep breathe, it naturally makes us sit up straight or stand taller. This is because filling the lungs with air encourages a better posture. If you’ve never noticed it before, breathing deep will automatically straighten your spine.
9. Mood Elevation
Deep breathing benefits your mood by increasing the production of neurochemicals in the brain, boosting feelings of pleasure and happiness. While shallow breathing can lead to stress and anxiety, deep breathing induces feelings of being happy and relaxed.
10. Improve Heart Health
Have you noticed how your heartbeats slow down when you practice deep breathing? This is because deep breathing makes the lungs stronger and promotes oxygenation of the blood, reducing the load on the heart over time.
11. Sleep Better
The necessity of sleep is well known. An adult needs at least six to seven hours of sleep every night for optimum health and productivity. Deep breathing promotes better sleep by alleviating stress and triggering relaxation response. When stress is lowered, sleep is improved.
12. Pain Relief
When we are in physical pain, our first response is to hold our breath. But that only increases the feeling of pain. Instead, breathing through the pain helps your body relax.
13. Healthier Organs
Diaphragmatic breathing is an exercise for all organs in the body. With the movement of the diaphragm, organs like the stomach, liver, intestine, heart, and pancreas are massaged, improving their function. Deep breathing also strengthens and tones abdominal muscles, the reason why diaphragmatic breathing is an essential part of yoga.
Monitor Your Breathing
Breathing is so natural that we often forget to do it. When we are too engrossed in work or are stressed and anxious, our breathing becomes shallow. You may even stop breathing for a few seconds without realizing it. But what if there was a product to track your breathing, and so much more?
SKIIN specializes in smart clothing that monitors your heart rate, breathing, stress levels, and more. These comfortable, technology-enabled, machine-washable underwear tracks various data from sensors in the waistband, gently alerting you when your breathing isn’t right. It can track when you’re stressed, and when you’re taking too many shallow breaths. SKIIN will automatically count the number of deep breaths you take in a day. You can track your breaths, set goals and monitor how your progress over time.
Deep breathing benefits physical, mental, and emotional health. While it isn’t always possible to remember to track our breathing, a simple device like a breathing tracker can improve our lives. Along with a healthy lifestyle, the habit of deep breathing can dramatically change the quality of your life with barely any effort on your part.
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.