Diaphragmatic breathing (also referred to as belly breathing) is a great skill to master for stress relief, maximizing oxygen use and enhancing aerobic exercise. It may come as a surprise to you, but diaphragmatic breathing is actually considered an exercise since you are working out a muscle, the diaphragm!
How to do it
- The easiest way to learn how to breathe diaphragmatically is by laying on your back on the ground.
- Place one hand on your abdomen, right below your rib cage and the other on your chest.
- Slowly take a deep breath in through your nose, and imagine your lungs completely filling up with oxygen.
- You should feel the hand on your belly rise, while the hand on your chest should stay as still as possible.
- Next, slowly exhale through your mouth while tightening your core as if you were bringing your belly button toward your spine.
- Repeat for 5 minutes.
- Once you master this laying on the ground, try it while in a seated position for even greater benefit.
- Practicing this exercise several times throughout the day can help you retrain yourself to breath with your belly, rather than your chest.
- Breathing this way all of the time can help you feel good, reduce stress and strengthen your respiratory system.
Always talk to your doctor prior to beginning a new workout routine and only perform exercises appropriate for your health and fitness level. If you have any type of lung condition or respiratory issue, consult a doctor before trying any breathing exercises.