Increasing your body's oxygen intake requires changing the depth rather than the rate of each breath. Although the process of respiration is one over which you have little control, the techniques you use to accomplish each breath are well within your control. Learning and adopting correct breathing techniques serve to increase your body's oxygen intake and, according to the American Medical Student Association, is one of the best ways to protect your physical and emotional health.
Close your mouth. Start breathing through your nose. All of the mechanisms that ensure a proper balance between the intake of oxygen and expulsion of carbon dioxide are in your nose. Mouth breathing creates a different type of breathing pattern that upsets this balance by decreasing oxygen intake and releasing carbon dioxide too quickly, while nose breathing promotes a deeper, slower breathing pattern that increases oxygen intake.
Practice proper breathing. Do this until it becomes a habit. When you are breathing properly, you are breathing through your nose and your chest and abdomen are moving in unison. If only your chest is moving, you are breathing too shallow and oxygen is not reaching the lower lung area.
Exercise. This will strengthen your core muscles and improve your posture. Poor posture inhibits the free flow of oxygen and affects blood oxygen levels. Your posture-building exercise program should consist of a combination of exercises. These include aerobics such as swimming, walking or biking for overall fitness and posture exercises that target trunk muscles, increasing muscle strength to a level where your back muscles are about 30 percent stronger than your abdominal muscles, according to Spine-Universe.com.
Lie flat on your back and bend your knees, keeping your feet flat on the floor about 8 inches apart. Place one hand on your stomach and the other across your chest.
Breathe in and out through your nose, slowly and deeply, so the air you breathe in reaches your abdomen. Continue breathing this way until you feel yourself start to relax.
Smile slightly and breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, taking long, slow and deep breaths each time. Repeat this breathing technique for about five minutes to increase blood oxygen levels and relax your body.
- American Medical Student Association: Breathing as a Bridge
- Holistic Online: Importance of Breathing
- Growth Orthodontics: Mouth Breathing-Why Is It So Important to Breathe Through Your Nose?
- University of Southern Florida College of Education: Breathing Techniques
- Holistic Online: Learning to Breathe Correctly
- Spine-Health.com: Ten Tips for Improving Posture and Ergonomics