Oxygen is essential to the metabolic function of all cells, and the body cannot survive without it. The lungs are an important part of a greater system that delivers oxygen throughout the body. Breathing exercises enhance your bodies ability to absorb and make use of this element. Improved lung function also guards against the onset of illness. Holger Schunemann, M.D., lead researcher of a study on the connection between lung function and mortality, stated, "The lung is a primary defense organism against environmental toxins. It could be that impaired pulmonary function could lead to decreased tolerance against these toxins." A larger lung capacity not only improves stamina but generally results in better overall health.
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This exercise was popularized by doctors Paul and Patricia Bragg, authors of Super-Power Breathing. Assume an upright posture, preferably standing on flat ground. Keeping both knees loose, bend over from the waist, simultaneously pushing out all air from your lungs. Slowly return to a vertical position, inhaling at an equal rate. Fill your lungs to the greatest degree comfortably possible and hold this breath for a count of 20. If 20 seconds it too long, choose a timing that you can manage. While counting, extend both arms fully overhead. Relax, lower your arms and exhale slowly. Complete this cycle four times.
Standing upright, expel all the air from your lungs. Slowly breathe in, expanding your lungs to maximum capacity. Hold the air for as long as 20 seconds. While counting, rest both hands on your hips, thumbs facing front with pinkies touching in the small of your back. Release the air slowly and relax. Repeat three more times.
Lay in a comfortable position on your back. Rest one hand on top of your abdomen and the other on your chest. Breathe in deeply and slowly, pulling from your mid-section. When done correctly, the hand on your belly will rise higher than the other. Exhale slowly and completely through the mouth. Inhale fully through the nose, holding your breath at the end for seven seconds if possible. Slowly breathe out for a full count of eight. Squeeze your abdominal muscles toward the end, in order to discharge any residual air. Breath in this way for five complete cycles.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Super-Power Breathing
- Breathing Exercises To Improve The Lung Capacity
- How To Increase Lung Capacity
- Buteyko Breathing Course Manual; Eduard Reuvers
- Thorax: Integrated Breathing and Relaxation Training (the Papworth Method) for Adults With Asthma in Primary Care: A Randomised Controlled Trial
- Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Yoga for Asthma
- Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Breathing Exercises for Adults With Asthma
- Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Breathing Exercises for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
- Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research: Breathing Pattern, Thoracoabdominal Motion and Muscular Activity During Three Breathing Exercises
- Global Initiative for Asthma: Global Strategy for Asthma Management and Prevention
- Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease: 2017 Global Strategy for the Diagnosis, Management and Prevention of COPD
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma (EPR-3)
- Thorax: Guidelines for the Physiotherapy Management of the Adult, Medical, Spontaneously Breathing Patient