Are you ready for all of the fun activities in 2017? If you suffer from COPD or other lung/breathing related illnesses you may notice that with the cold weather and with increased physical activity your breathing isn’t as easy as it should be. Luckily we’ve put together two simple and easy to follow techniques to keep you breathing easy and relaxed!
The first and most important thing to remember when you’re having difficultly breathing is to relax. Tensing up and becoming anxious will only work to hinder your breathing even further. To ensure these breathing techniques are right for you, we suggest consulting your doctor.
The following two breathing techniques are recommended by respiratory therapists. These techniques generally work to relax you and help give the muscles around your lungs, as well as your lungs themselves, a gentle but brisk work-out.
1. Pursed-Lip Breathing
Starting to feel short of breath? This breathing technique will slow down your breathing and open up your lungs to allow more oxygen in as well as allow for more carbon dioxide to escape. This technique is called pursed-lip breathing and it reduces the work of breathing in the long run and increases how long you’re able to perform physical activities.
Step 1: Inhale deeply through your nose for roughly 2 seconds.
Step 2: Purse your lips like you’re about to drink through a straw.
Step 3: Breathe out slowly for roughly 4-8 seconds (should be 2 to 4 times longer than your inhale breath)
Step 4: Repeat steps 1-3, 10 times per session.
2. Diaphragmatic Breathing
This technique is used to strengthen the diaphragm, which is the muscle you should use when you breath. If you suffer from COPD, your diaphragm is naturally weaker and your breathing may be controlled with your back and neck muscles. This style of breathing may result in shallow breathing and does not use the diaphragm muscles it should. Instead work to strengthen the diaphragm muscles with this more difficult technique. As always we suggest consulting your doctor to ensure these exercises are safe for your current condition.
Step 1: Relax your shoulders.
Step 2: Rest one hand on your chest and the other hand on your stomach.
Step 3: Inhale through your nose for roughly 2 seconds.
Step 4: Breathe in and expand your stomach outward. Your stomach should expand father than your chest.
Step 5: Breathe out and gently press on your extended stomach. This will assist in getting all of the air out by putting slight pressure on your diaphragm.
Step 6: Repeat steps 1 through 5, 5 times per session.
These breathing techniques are great ways to retrain yourself to breath correctly. They’ll also help you strengthen the muscles you need to breath which will help you avoid developing shallow breathing as a habit.