Breathing is one of the only things we can do both unconsciously and consciously.
Most of us do it without thinking about it, thank goodness otherwise we’d be dead, but did you know that being ablate control your breathing has an abundance of health benefits.
1. It reduces fatigue
Food and drink are generally the first things you think of when thinking about energy, too much food and you can end up feeling sluggish, too little and you feel tired and depleted. Breathing is similar! Too much and you could feel hyped, dizzy, confused and weak (think hyperventilation), but too little and you might feel tired, heavy and unmotivated. Though there are occasions when it’s useful to access these states, it’s not energy efficient to consistently live in either one for an extended period of time.
2. Improved core stability
It’s starting to be recognised that breathing well will give you good core stability. One of our main breathing muscles is our diaphragm, situated, like a dome at the bottom of our rib cage. This muscle provides stability for the spine and works with the other muscles in the core as we breathe in and out and move in different directions. When you breathe in, your diaphragm descends down and should expand your ribs at the back, sides and front, helping you to keep your rib cage stacked on top of your hips and a good centre of gravity.
3. Improved posture
How we breathe affects our posture. Due to many of us being more sedentary with desk jobs, our breathing pattern often adapts to suit long periods of sitting, where our diaphragm is potentially more constricted. Being aware of our breathe and how to breathe using your diaphragm, even if its not constant, will help you come back to a good centre of gravity, stacked joints and core stability (all mentioned above), which all attribute to a more upright posture.
4. Increased focus and less stress
A slower, deeper breath, using your diaphragm, allows more oxygen to enter into your bloodstream, which calms your sympathetic nervous system (the stress response). This helps you to access the logical part of the brain, rather than the triggered, uncontrolled reaction. Leading to less stress and clearer thinking.