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Benefits of Deep Breathing

| By Melanie D. Tucker
Benefits of Deep Breathing
A woman takes a deep breath outside in the autumn air. Photo Credit AntonioGuillem/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

Deep breathing can release stress and provide other noticeable health benefits. You will likely feel calmer after performing deep breathing exercises, and may trade feelings of anger or fear for a focused, relaxed state of mind. Deep breathing is sometimes used to treat anxiety disorders, sleep problems and even general body aches and pains.

The Natural Painkiller

Deep breathing releases endorphins throughout the body. Endorphins are feel-good, natural painkillers created by our own bodies. When practicing deep breathing, the upward and downward movement of the diaphragm helps remove toxins from the organs, promoting better blood flow. Oxygen provides energy, which means that we are creating an increase in our energy level by breathing deeply. Learning a few techniques and taking just a few moments each day to practice some deep breathing exercises can decrease stress, relax your mind and body and help you sleep better.

The Technique

Sit in a comfortable position with your hands on your knees and your shoulders relaxed. Breathing begins with exhaling, as you cannot fully inhale until you empty your lungs completely. Breathe in through your nose. Exhale slowly through your nose while you count to five. Tighten or tense your abdominal muscles. At the end of your breath, pause for two counts, then inhale slowly while you count to five. Expand your belly as you breathe in. Close your eyes and repeat five to10 times.

If your mind wanders during this exercise, don’t worry. Refocus on your counting. You will become more aware of your breathing and will find that it becomes easier to breathe deeply without overthinking it.

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The Benefits

The many benefits of deep breathing include a reduction in stress and blood pressure, strengthening of abdominal and intestinal muscles and relief of general body aches and pains. Deep breathing also promotes better blood flow, releases toxins from the body and aids in healthy sleep. These benefits result in an increased energy level. The secret is simply to breathe, deeply and often. In addition, focusing on your breathing during physical activities, such as exercise, can help you become more mindful of your body, improving self-awareness.

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author image Melanie D. Tucker
Based in Garner, NC, Melanie Tucker has been working in the health and fitness industry since 1998 and writing related articles since 2007. Tucker's articles appear in a monthly newsletter for "Female Fit Camp" and can also be viewed on various websites. She has accumulated several nationally recognized certifications and is a Master Practitioner working toward her Bachelor of Science in nutrition sciences.
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