Although breathing is a natural body function, some people need to learn how to do it properly. Oxygen levels can drop 20 percent as we age, according to the University of Missouri-Kansas City, partially due to poor breathing habits. Shallow breathing can cause a person to become dizzy, lightheaded, tense and tired. Breathing properly provides the amount of oxygen the body needs to burn fat and perform at maximum capacity during physical activities. It also reduces stress and helps you sleep better. Every cell in your body needs oxygen to survive.
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Let out all of your breath while sitting straight. Relax your abdominal muscles and slowly inhale. Continue inhaling until you can't take in any more air. Hold your breath for the count of 10 before you slowly exhale. Keep your abdominal muscles relaxed as you repeat this exercise for five minutes. Doing this exercise regularly gets you in the habit of filling your lungs to continually provide fresh oxygen to your body.
Lie down on your back with your arms down by your sides. Take slow, deep breaths through your nostrils. Place a hand on your abdomen in a relaxed manner as you breathe. Be aware of the way your abdomen expands and contracts with each breath. Continue this exercise for about 10 minutes. This exercise helps you focus on taking deep breaths so you can fill your lungs to capacity.
Sit up straight in a chair, with both feet on the floor. Take three deep breaths by relaxing your abdomen and inhaling until your lungs are full. Slowly exhale. Gently place a finger over the outer edge of one nostril and gently press to close it off. This forces you to inhale only through the other nostril. Hold this oxygen in your lungs for five to 10 seconds, then gently close off the other nostril to exhale. Do this for five minutes, alternating the inhaling nostrils. This exercise helps oxygenate both sides of your body by training your lungs to breathe through both nostrils.
Relax your abdomen while sitting up straight in a chair. Inhale slowly until your lungs are full. Hold the oxygen in your lungs for five to 10 seconds, then slowly exhale while you make a humming sound. Continue humming until you are completely out of breath. Relax, then repeat for three minutes. The vibrations from humming soothe the nerves while helping to increase oxygen flow through the body.
Prayer Pose Breathing Exercise
Stand up straight with your palms together in front of your chest. Inhale slowly through your nostrils as you raise your hands -- palms together -- straight over your head to the count of 10. Hold this stance to the count of 10, then separate your hands slowly and straighten your arms as you swing them back down to your side to the count of 10. Repeat this exercise five times. The arm motion helps expand the chest area to enable the lungs to reach full oxygen capacity.