Breathing. We do it every day, multiple times a day in fact… so why should we practise something that comes naturally to us? Surely we just instinctively know how to breathe, right?
Well the truth is, certain events in our lives such as pregnancy & birth, injuries and even mental health challenges can change the we way we naturally breathe. The difference between a poor breathing pattern and a great breathing pattern can be the difference between a body that is always under stress / prone to pain and instability and a body that is strong, functional and pain-free!
Still not convinced that you should practise breathing? Well consider these 3 extra benefits…
1. You will feel calmer
Do you remember in biology learning about your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems? The sympathetic nervous system is the one responsible for your “fight or flight” response, and the parasympathetic nervous system is the one that gets you to “rest and digest”. Deep, diaphragmatic breathing, when done properly, stimulates your parasympathetic system, so it instantly calms you! How amazing is that! I personally use it at home MULTIPLE times a day when the chaos get the better of me. Try it, it works wonders… And BONUS! It also promotes easier bowel movements and better sleep!
2. Your pelvic floor will be stronger
When you breathe properly using your diaphragm and get full expansion of your ribcage and abdomen, two cool things happen:
- First on the inhale, your core system manages the increase in intra-abdominal pressure as a team and gives your spine and muscle system better stability.
- Secondly, on the exhale, you get a natural recoil / contraction of the pelvic floor and other ‘core’ muscles, which give you even better stability.
With all of this extra dynamic stability, your pelvic floor and abdominals can generate more strength which in turn gives the rest of your body a nice foundation to get stronger too.
3. You will have less pain
Believe it or not, breathing can have a big effect on pain. A great diaphragmatic breathing pattern encourages movement of the mid back and rib cage, which can reduce lower back and mid back pain. It also calms down the superficial neck muscles often overused in upper chest breathers, which can reduce tension and neck pain as well as neck-related headaches. And let’s not forget that good breathing patterns also give you that calming effect, which can result in a much better ability to manage pain that arises.
With all these amazing benefits, good breathing really is worth the time to learn properly! So how do you breathe properly? Well, you can follow along here with a video I put together. Enjoy!