How to breathe a diaphragm?
Superficial and shallow breathing is a typical problem of a modern resident of a big city. Polluted air, smoking, work in a sitting position and a sedentary lifestyle - all these factors have a very negative effect on breathing techniques and on providing the body with oxygen. Among other things, many do not breathe properly even when playing sports.
To learn how to breathe correctly, first of all, it is necessary to develop the habit of self-control over the breathing process. Both in ordinary life and in the gym, you should periodically “check” whether you are breathing with your mouth or nose, chest or diaphragm. No matter how hard (and strange) it was in the early days, gradually the technique of breathing correctly will become a habit.
Diaphragm breathing: what is it?
The diaphragm is an internal muscle that separates the chest and abdominal cavities, which plays a major role in the process of expansion of the lungs, and, accordingly, in the process of breathing. In fact, the ability to engage the diaphragm in the work distinguishes superficial breathing by the chest from providing the body with an adequate level of oxygen, full breathing by the stomach.
If during chest breathing the chest expands due to the work of the intercostal muscles, then when breathing through the diaphragm, the chest practically does not move, and air enters the lower parts of the lungs due to the work of the diaphragm muscles only, not the ribs. Most athletes breathe precisely with the diaphragm, because chest breathing simply will not allow them to perform heavy exercises.
Do I need to breathe with my stomach?
Despite the fact that in yoga practice special attention is paid to breathing with the stomach, a person cannot breathe with the stomach as such - you can only inflate it and pull it in (as is done in the exercise " vacuum in the stomach "). But, since there are no lungs in the stomach, it is impossible to breathe. Essentially, by abdominal breathing, yoga means deep breathing by the diaphragm.
On the other hand, visual expansion of the abdomen really should be observed when breathing with the diaphragm - in contrast to chest breathing, when the abdomen remains almost motionless. If the maximum lung capacity of an adult is 4–6 l, and the diaphragm breathing cycle implies an inhalation of 2–3 l, then only 400–500 ml of air is used for chest breathing.
Consequences of breathing
The habit of breathing exclusively through the chest, as well as inhaling and exhaling air through the mouth, not only impairs the oxygen supply to the body, but also leads to weakening of the muscles of the diaphragm and the internal muscles of the press associated with it. Among other things, such breathing can lead to the development of digestive problems and increase the symptoms of gastritis .
Long-term breathing by the chest can negatively affect the whole posture of a person, provoking the development of the "hourglass" syndrome - the lower ribs and pelvis are pulled together, and the center of the abdomen is like "falling through" inside. This is especially pronounced in those who lead a sedentary and sedentary lifestyle - that is why it is important for such people to engage in meditation to improve breathing techniques.
Proper breathing and meditation
Take the most comfortable position for you - for example, sitting or lying down. Place your left hand on your chest, and your right hand on your stomach. Close your eyes, relax and try to breathe as naturally and through your nose as possible. Spend 2-3 minutes learning exactly how you breathe. Note if your stomach or chest moves while breathing.
Then, draw air into the lungs and slowly exhale it through the nose, while at the same time gently squeezing the muscles of the press and making sure that the chest does not fall down and practically does not participate in breathing. Simultaneously with the exhalation, imagine that you are letting go of all your problems and thoughts that disturb you - this is the essence of breathing meditation.
Why is it harmful to breathe through the mouth?
Runners know that breathing through the mouth while jogging significantly reduces its effectiveness. The athlete, it seems to him, takes deep breaths, but he immediately exhales the air back. This negatively affects the percentage of oxygen assimilation (1) and makes a person breathe even more often, completely breaking the rhythm of breathing in particular, and the entire run as a whole.
With active mouth breathing, the diaphragm muscles seem to constrict and restrict the lungs, as they move back and forth (which is more typical for chest breathing), and not up and down, as with deep nose breathing. Among other things, in the case of winter running, the habit of inhaling air through the mouth is a direct path to sore throat and colds (2) .
The main rules of breathing during physical training - you should breathe exclusively through the nose, and the weight of the barbell or other projectiles should be squeezed out as you exhale. For example, when push-ups, it is necessary to go down while inhaling, and when exhaling, push off from the floor. With pull-ups, exhalation is done when lifting up, and inhaling - when lowering.
Breathing itself, as mentioned above, should be carried out with the help of the diaphragm and without noticeable movement of the chest - this will activate the internal muscles of the body and press , creating natural support and protecting the spine from injuries. The exhalation should be light and natural, without strained cries and groans.
The optimal frequency of inspirations and exhalations in sports
Proper breathing during sports is approximately 7-8 cycles of slow breaths and expirations per minute. First, there is a deep breath through the nose lasting 2-3 seconds, followed by a quiet exhalation for 3-4 seconds (again, through the nose) and a final pause for 2-3 seconds. If the breathing rhythm goes astray, then you need to increase the rest time between sets .
Separately, we note that with improper breathing through the mouth, 10 to 20 cycles of short breaths and exhalations are often performed per minute - in fact, in this case, the body is chronically short of oxygen (3) . We also mention that the habit of holding your breath during exercise is especially dangerous, since it increases blood pressure.
Proper breathing is even, slow and deep breathing, carried out through the nose and with the active participation of the diaphragm (the chest should not move with such breathing). In order to learn how to breathe correctly, it is important to develop the habit of periodically monitoring how exactly you breathe, and also practice breathing meditation regularly.
- Breathe right !, source
- How to Breathe Properly, source
- How you can breathe your way to good health, source