One of the biggest risks of stress, anxiety, respiratory infection or ailments affecting the lungs and airway is the collapse of the breathing mechanism. Whether it’s Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Asthma or most recently COVID-19, the risk of respiratory collapse is high and monitoring of breathing is important, COVID-19 often leads to Pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome which is severe lung injury.
Breathing exercises are helpful in improving breathing, restore diaphragm function. And it is also important that to alleviate stress, anxiety which not only improve lung function but also improve sleep quality.
There are precautions to follow before you begin the breathing exercises: Don’t begin the breathing exercises and see your doctor if: you have a fever, shortness of breath, chest pain and palpitations. And stop the exercises in case of Dizziness, Shortness of breath, excessive fatigue and irregular heartbeats.
Breathing exercise involves setting aside times in a day for conscious breathing and there are many types of exercises to perform to improve lung function. These include:
- Diaphragmatic breathing
Deep breathing restores lung function by using diaphragm, Breathing through the nose strengthens the diaphragm and encourages nervous system, to relax and restore its self. The Healthline Medical Network recommends practice for 5 to 10 minutes daily 3 to 4 times a day and describes the process as follows.
- Lie on your back with the knees slightly bent and your head on a pillow
- You may place a pillow under your knees for support
- Place one hand on your upper chest and one hand below your ribcage allowing you to feel the movement of your diaphragm
- Slowly inhale through your nose
- Exhale using pursed lips as you tighten your stomach muscles, pursing lips is as though you are going to whistle.
- Deep breathing
This helps you breathe in more fresh air and relieves shortness of breath by preventing air from getting trapped into your lungs. The Healthline medical network describes the procedure:
- While standing or sitting, draw your elbows back slightly to allow your chest to expand
- Take a deep inhalation through your nose
- Retain your breath to a count of 5
- Slowly release your breath by exhaling through your nose
- Breathing exercise for stress
The NHS recommends that you make yourself as comfortable as you can. If you can, loosen any clothes that may restrict your breathing.
- Let your breathing flow as deep down into your belly as is confortable without forcing
- Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth
- Breath in gently and regularly
- Then, without pausing or holding your breath, let it flow out gently, counting from 1 to 5
- Keep doing this for 3 to 5 minutes
You can add these exercises at a routine to your daily routine and do them for longer period as you get by. You can also choose specific times of the day for your exercises.