Breathing. It seems like such a simple thing to do that we don’t even think about it.
Breathing is not only the process by which our cells, muscles, organs and brain receive oxygen and function properly; breathing directly impacts and controls posture and spinal stabilization.
However, how you breathe is just as important as the act of breathing and has a lot to do with your athletic performance as well as your quality of life.
Breathing properly can decrease stress and muscle tension; calm your nerves; sharpen your focus; minimize negative and distracting thoughts; reduce fatigue and promote stamina.
Focus on your breath
Be aware of your breathing: is it rapid and shallow or slow and deep? Close your eyes, breathe from your abdomen and make each breath count.
As you breathe in, fill your lungs and feel the diaphragm contract and flatten as you expand your lungs with oxygen – breathe deep in your abdomen. On the exhalation, feel the diaphragm relax, as the abdominal muscles contract inward and the lungs deflate. This action of the lungs, diaphragm and abdominal muscles is vital for effective function of the core.
Breathe to stabilize
The diaphragm (our major breathing muscle) acts as the stabilizer of the body and helps to create a strong cylinder (core) to prevent the onset of spinal stabilization issues such as back pain, muscle imbalance, osteoarthritis, hip problems and endless other imbalance and dysfunction issues.
Deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange — that is, the beneficial exchange of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide. Not surprisingly, this type of breathing slows the heartbeat and can lower or stabilize blood pressure.
Breathing powerfully affects every system in your body: cardiovascular, nervous, endocrine, lymph, immune, digestive and, of course, respiratory.
Simply putting into practice proper abdominal breathing can transform your health and athletic performance. So, take a deep breath, and simply breathe.