Do Breathing Exercises Work?
Over the last year, there has been an increased focus on self-care and the importance of taking time out for our mental wellbeing. This applies to children and adults alike. One of the best ways to do this is through breathing exercises.
However, some people are probably wondering ‘do breathing exercises work?’ It’s a fair question. Given the extensive benefits that breathing exercises provide, it seems too easy that we can improve sleep, memory, mental health and enhance relaxation simply by deep breathing.
However, scientific studies have proven that the answer is a resounding yes – breathing exercises DO work. Here, The Global Classroom answers some of your most frequently asked questions about breathing exercises.
Do breathing exercises work to improve my lungs?
The simple answer is yes! Certain breathing exercises help our lungs to work more efficiently. By using breathing exercises, you can reduce your shortness of breath without changing your lung capacity.
We all know that the lungs are crucial for a healthy, happy life. In our lungs, carbon dioxide and oxygen are exchanged, making these organs a critical part of our respiratory system.
When we inhale and exhale, it’s a huge workout for our lungs and the surrounding body parts. Every time we breathe in, several body parts work in unison to allow much-needed oxygen to enter our bodies.
However, smoking, pollution and medical health problems (such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD) can restrict our lung capacity, leading them to function less effectively.
Reduced lung capacity can be caused by two different factors:
- Obstructive lung diseases: This category includes COPD and asthma. In these situations, the lungs are unable to expel air efficiently when we exhale. This means that carbon dioxide is being retained in the body.
- Restrictive lung diseases: In these cases, the lungs are unable to properly expand. As a result, the volume of oxygen that is inhaled is reduced and you may not be able to access as much oxygen as your body requires.
So, whether you have strong, healthy lungs, or you suffer from a lung disease, breathing exercises will be beneficial for your lungs. Breathing exercises help to keep the lungs strong in the same way that aerobic exercise strengthens the heart.
The British Lung Foundation has explained that deep breathing helps to clear mucus from the lungs. This increases the circulation within the organs, enhancing their efficiency.
To maintain healthy lungs, it’s important that you build breathing exercises into your daily routine to build strength. This ensures that, even if you have healthy lungs, your lungs will stay stronger for longer, creating a healthy body as you age.
Do breathing exercises work if I only use them once?
Breathing exercises are exactly that: exercises. If you did one HIIT workout, would you expect to instantly lose three stone and have a six-pack? Probably not!
Exercises work when they are used regularly and repeatedly. As with any exercise, the more you do it, the easier and more natural it becomes.
If you’re new to the world of breathing exercises, don’t expect to be a breathing exercise master straight away. Regulating and controlling your breathing sounds easier than it actually is. To begin with, try exercising your breathing at least once a day, and try to make your breathing techniques last 5-10 minutes.
If you’re looking for breathing techniques for you and your family to use, try our selection of breathing techniques at home. These exercises are perfect for a range of different ages and abilities. We also explain how you can push and challenge your breathing once you become more comfortable with the exercises.
When you’re comfortable with your breathing exercises, try to use them at least three times a day. When you wake up, at least once during your day, and before bedtime. You should also employ your newfound breathing skills on demand when necessary. This could be during exercise or before an important exam or presentation.
So, in summary, do breathing exercises work? Yes, they certainly do. However, it’s important to remember that they work best, and have the most profound benefits if you use breathing techniques regularly.
To learn more about the world of breathing and the plethora of health benefits associated with breathing techniques, explore our seventh classroom – Deep Breath. Join Scarisbrick Hall School, James Nestor and a vast selection of guest speakers to discuss the importance of daily breathing habits.