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Anxiety, stress, shortness of breath? This simple breathing exercise actually helps

Health | September 10, 2018

You might not think about it as such, but breathing is hard muscle work. That’s why the way you use your breathing muscle - the diaphragm - can make a big difference. Whenever you’re out of breath, need relief for stress or anxiety, or just want to feel better in general, do this simple breathing exercise.

Taking a deep breath is something we’re told to do whenever we’re stressed or angry, and for a good reason. It’s not only to give you time to process, but to help reduce those feelings of anxiety. Breathing deeply is fundamental in yoga and pilates practices that are known for cutting stress and working wonders on your mood.

What taking a deep breath actually means is properly using your diaphragm located at the base of your lungs. Instead of breathing from your chest, what you might do when trying to gasp for more air, you’re breathing down, expanding your abdomen.

When you use your diaphragm to breathe in, the muscle flattens and allows your lungs to expand more fully. This translates to better oxygen uptake. A proper breathing technique also requires less work from your body than breathing from your chest, which is a strain on your neck, back and chest.

So, to help breathing difficulties and get more oxygen in your blood and body, find your diaphragm and use it. Here’s a simple exercise that can help you.

Help for shortness of breath

  1. Lay down on you back in a comfortable position. Lift your knees up and place your feet flat on the floor. Place one hand on your chest and another on your lower abdomen.
  2. Take a slow, deep breath through your nose and focus on making your lower abdomen rise. The hand on your chest should mostly stay still. Also make sure not to shrug your shoulders.
  3. When you exhale, purse your lips and blow the air out slowly. Feel your lower abdomen sink back down, and again, the hand on your chest stay mostly still.

Breathing exercises to strengthen your diaphragm

Finding your diaphragm and learning to use it is the first step towards more effortless breathing. Doing breathing exercises is the next one.

Breathing exercises are an easy routine to add to your daily activities. You can focus on your breathing whenever you’re taking a break from work or sitting on the bus, for example. An easy exercise in bed before going to sleep will calm your mind and help put buzzing thoughts to rest.

BREATHING EXERCISE 1: LAY DOWN AND BREATHE

  1. Start as with the instructions above. Lay down in a comfortable position, knees up and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Inhale deeply and count to five. Make sure your belly rises but your chest and shoulders stay down.
  3. Exhale slowly while counting to five. Push your belly down towards your spine. Do two sets of 10 to 20 deep breaths.

BREATHING EXERCISE 2: ALL FOURS

  1. Get into an all-fours position on the floor, with your hands below your shoulders and knees below your pelvis. Gently round your back.
  2. Breathe in through your nose and keep your back as rounded as possible.
  3. Breathe out as hard as possible. Round your back further and push your chin toward your chest. At the end of your exhale, pause for five seconds. Hold the rounded position.
  4. Repeat the cycle five times.

 

 

Orion is a globally operating Finnish pharmaceutical company - a builder of well-being for more than 100 years. Orion develops, manufactures and markets human and veterinary pharmaceuticals and active pharmaceutical ingredients. Respiratory diseases is one of Orion’s core therapy areas. Easyhaler® is a dry-powder inhaler developed in-house. The Easyhaler® product family includes today six commonly used treatment options for asthma and COPD patients. Orion's net sales in 2017 amounted to EUR 1,085 million and the company had about 3,500 employees. Orion's A and B shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.

As a forward-looking pharmaceutical company, Orion continues to investi n research and development of treatment options for people with asthma and COPD while also developing the design and usability of the inhaler. The focus is on safety and quality on each step of the product life cycle while taking care of the environment. Sustainability is entwined in the whole process from R&D through to manufacturing. It is also required of Orion’s providers. Orion is committed to keeping the best possible control of environmental impacts of their own factories by reducing energy consumption and impact of their wastewaters among others and is making a good progress. Orion works to ensure that suppliers have actions in place to control and reduce their own environmental impacts as well. All aspects of sustainability; social, economic and environmental, are carefully considered in the whole product life cycle including patient use and in disposing of old inhalers.

You may download the Orion Sustainability Report 2017 here

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