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Are you breathing properly?

Running man resting after run in New York City

Most people tend to breathe in a slightly abnormal way, they tend to hold in their stomachs, make little use of their diaphragm, and breathe using the muscles of their upper chest, neck and shoulders. This is not the most effective way to get the needed oxygen to our brain and muscles. The good news is that we can relearn how to breathe properly – learning to breathe using our abdomens. Let’s have a look the difference between Chest breathing and Abdominal breathing.

Chest breathing refers to breaths from the top lobes of the lungs that use the chest muscles to inflate the lungs by pulling on the rib cage. In chest breathing, the chest expands and contracts with each breath while the abdominal area does not. These breaths tend to be short and quick, using only a small portion of the lungs and delivering a relatively minimal amount of oxygen to the bloodstream. Chest breathing is often associated with hyperventilation and a sensation of feeling out of breath, as you attempt to take in oxygen quickly despite the low air volume from each breath.

Abdominal breathing, also called belly or diaphragmatic breathing, refers to breaths that use your entire lung capacity. The diaphragm and abdominal muscles pull down on the abdominal cavity to fully inflate the lungs. The chest expands very little if at all while abdominal breathing, while the abdominal area expands significantly. Breaths taken while abdominal breathing are slow and deep, taking longer to inhale and exhale and delivering a significantly larger amount of oxygen to the bloodstream. The larger amount of air intake also allows you to exhale a larger amount of carbon dioxide, eliminating it from your body at a faster rate.
See the video below how the diaphragm works and why deep breathing is beneficial for our body.

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