Everyone does it, it occurs 24/7, & its essential for staying alive - breathing! Our lungs can hold up to 6 litres of air, up to 500ml of this air is pushed in & out with every breath. However due to postural constraints, low levels of health & fitness or complacency, we fall in to a shallow breathing pattern. This is fine when we're asleep as our brain & muscles don't need much oxygen then, but in our waking hours this can affect alertness, energy levels, & concentration etc. So in other words, if we practice the breathing exercises below as couple of times a day we are not only keeping our lungs healthy but improving our workplace health & performance - right?
Simple deep breathing:
- From a relaxed position (standing, seated or lying) breathe out slowly through your nose counting to 5 seconds. While doing so tense your stomach muscles to draw in your diaphragm which helps your lungs deflate.
- As the lungs feel like they have emptied, pause for 2 seconds, then inhale slowly for 5 seconds. Push your stomach out to help this.
- Repeat 5 - 10 times, closing your eyes if this helps.
How many times a day do you yawn? A yawn is our body's response to low oxygen saturation levels in the blood (hence the body feeling tired / shallow breathing). By showing the world our tonsils & making a caveman sound, we are taking in a greater amount of oxygen & exchanging it with the existing air in our lungs.
Today it is a cold crisp day so its perfect for giving deep breathing a go. Especially if you're sat in a traffic jam, a stuffy office or walking for your lunch.
Take care today & enjoy the festive weather!