Did you know that the average human lung capacity is about 6 liters of air, but we use a lot less of that capacity because it's normal for most people to shallow breathe a majority of the time. Deep breathing can benefit your health in several ways by activating the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system. For example, if you feel anxious, the first thing you should do is take a deep breath in, hold for 3-5 seconds, and then exhale slowly. Doing this several times will help calm the fight or flight response and slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure.
Breathing exercises can also help with weight loss, progessive muscle relaxation, and a sense of well being. Most of us are not breathing properly by breathing air up into our chest. Look at yourself in the mirror. Your lungs hang all the way down toward the bottom of your rib cage. More than likely, you're not filling them up with the precious air they need. Most of us inflate just the upper portion.
Simply lay down totally flat on your bed, your couch, or floor. Relax for a second or two before taking a deep breath. Now breathe in deep through your nose. Push your belly up while taking the air inside. Stick your chin on your chest and watch your belly rise. When you've got as much air as you can hold, stop and hold your breath. Try holding it for ten or twenty seconds. If you're like most people, you're dying to let it out at the end of the twenty seconds. Go ahead. Pitiful isn't it?
Not only that, but did you feel your lungs stretching out? You don't feel that very often do you? It feels good and bad at the same time, right? That's because you're not used to it. Try it a couple of more times. It gets easier each time, right? That's the beauty of re-training yourself to breathe properly and when you implement some easy breathing exercises you will feel the difference. Don't you feel relaxed and refreshed at the same time? Your body is saying thank you, thank you! Just that very tiny bit of deep breathing and your body feels better. An immediate reaction.
Now think of this. That extra oxygen you gifted your body with is now moving through your bloodstream, slightly increasing your flow, and getting rid of excess waste and fat. All that in a matter of seconds! Keep lying on the floor, bed, or couch, and practice a little more. Get used to how deep breathing feels. Close your eyes and sense the rhythm of the deep breath you're taking. Memorize it.
Keep practicing for 5 more minutes. Now sit up. Again, try to accomplish the same deep breath while sitting up. Sit up straight. Start breathing in through your nose -then slowly stick your chin on top of your chest and watch your belly inflate with air. This may be a little harder because you might unconsciously revert back to shallow breathing. You'll know that this is true if your belly isn't inflating and you feel all the air in your lungs high in your chest. Don't give up. Concentrate on inflating your belly. Once filled as much as possible, hold it for twenty seconds and release through your mouth. You must practice this technique a few times to get used to it.
So by now, you should have a real sense of how to breathe deep. Now what? Take a day or two and just practice the technique. Learn how your body feels. Memorize the actual process of taking in, holding, and releasing all that extra oxygen. After a day or two of practice, you're ready for your daily workout.
What's all this have to do with your health Plenty! Think about it... Oxygen is fuel for your body as is food. There are no calories in oxygen. You can breathe in all you want for as long as you want and still no calories! Not only that, but the extra oxygen you take in will cause the chemical reactions in your body to take place much faster, thus, you burn more calories than you take in. This in turn speeds up your metabolism and makes you burn more fat and when it comes to weight loss every little thing you do will help you achieve your goals.