Health Advocate Blog

Workout of the Week: Diaphragmatic Breathing

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

  1. The easiest way to learn how to breathe diaphragmatically is by laying on your back on the ground.
  2. Place one hand on your abdomen, right below your rib cage and the other on your chest.
  3. Slowly take a deep breath in through your nose, and imagine your lungs completely filling up with oxygen.
  4. You should feel the hand on your belly rise, while the hand on your chest should stay as still as possible.
  5. Next, slowly exhale through your mouth while tightening your core as if you were bringing your belly button toward your spine.
  6. 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.