Just Breathe; My official mantra for the Holiday season.
This time of year is statiscally stressful. It’s the time us crazies get agitated or even anxious from the planning, shopping, traveling, and quality time with the extended family (Cousins, Uncles, Aunts, etc.). It is also the one time a year I sit around a dinner table listening to my cousins and uncles talk about NASCAR, gun control, and how McDonalds should sell the McRib sandwich year-round (that’s Kansas for you!).
It’s moments like these I repeat to myself… “Just Breathe”
But what if I told you it is how you breathe that matters most? Want to calm yourself down? Have perfect posture? Lift heavy? Increase endurance and improve core function? It all can be affected by how you breathe.
The two types of breathing lie on a spectrum. On one end, chest breathing; and on the other, belly breathing (also known as Diaphragmatic Breathing), with the latter being superior.
I use the word ‘spectrum’ only because breathing can be unique for each person. For example, one can ace breathing drills but struggle to maintain belly breathing during a CrossFit workout that requires an increase in breathing. So before we get into the details, realize this is a process. It will require several weeks of practice and will need to be done several times throughout the day. The “ever-so-often” approach just won’t do.
How do you know if you are breathing incorrectly? The common signs of dysfunction are listed below:
– Inhalation is initiated by lifting the chest
– Limited rib expansion during inhalation
– Mouth breathing
– Posture: Elevated shoulder girdle
– Breath Holding: On average you should be able to hold your breath for 25-30 seconds. Poor results are 15 seconds or less
Sound like you? Here is your first step. Below is a video demonstrating a belly breathing drill. It’s important to start lying down while doing this drill. As you become more accustomed to belly breathing, you can then progress the drill by changing your position to seated, then standing.