We need to breathe to stay alive. For some of us, this process is simple and we don’t think too much about it. For others, it’s a constant struggle that requires a lot of concentration and effort.
For all of us, it’s important we’re aware that there’s a right—and wrong—way to breathe. If you suffer from a lung condition, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), these tips are even more critical.
1. You’re not exhaling enough when you exercise.
According to prevention.com, one of the key components of effective exercise is proper breathing, which can be even more difficult if you have a lung condition. When your body is challenged, most of us tense up, which restricts our breathing and forces us to take short, shallow breaths and not fully exhaling all of the carbon dioxide out of our lungs. Make sure you focus just as much on the way you’re breathing as the physical activity you’re doing to get the most out of your exercise routine.
2. You’re hunched over your computer, your desk or your phone.
Most of us spend hours at a desk at work, pouring over our smartphones, laptops or just staring at a computer screen. While necessary evils for most corporate jobs, the effect this has on our bodies is massive. This working position adds 30 pounds of pressure to the cervical spine, driving the ribs into the diaphragm, adding pressure to the shoulders, and encouraging shallow breathing. To fight the negative effects of this common working position, set a reminder to go off every 15 or 30 minutes that prompts you to straighten your back, stretch out your shoulders and take a few long, deep breaths.
3. You’re sucking in your gut.
While you may think you’re giving your abs a workout by sucking in, activebeat.com says you’re actually doing more harm than good. When you suck in your tummy, you’re putting the same pressure on your ribs and diaphragm as when you’re hunched over. This forces short, shallow breathing, and doesn’t allow you to release the necessary carbon dioxide from your lungs.
4. You let stress affect your breathing.
Stress tends to affect the way we breathe, taking our standard long, deep breaths and turning them into quick, shortened gasps. Not only that, but studies have also shown stress to be connected to overeating and obesity, the latter of which can make breathing even more difficult. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try taking some time out for yourself. Try meditation, simple yoga poses or just a mindfulness exercise. Anything that allows you to focus on your breathing has been shown to reduce stress.
COPD News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.