As winter settles in Down Under, it is a timely reminder for us to remember to take care of ourselves – especially our lung health. The lungs are central to your wellbeing and ensuring that you take in fresh, clean air to circulate through your body.
Breathing is the most natural action for your body every second of the day, yet it is a motion that we tend to take for granted. According to the World Health Organisation lung conditions are the third leading cause of death globally, yet these conditions are preventable.
The air is filled with toxins in the environment that you breathe in on a daily basis; from cigarette smoke, air pollution and dust, there are many risks to your lung health.
Your diaphragm and throat work together to help filter out those toxins. The respiratory system also contains hair like structures that act as a filter to block any food and foreign objects from entering the lungs.
Keeping the lungs healthy begins with correct breathing techniques to energise your respiratory system. First the brain sends a signal to the diaphragm to pump air into your lungs. The respiratory system process that air into oxygen which flow into the body’s cells while in the process releasing harmful toxins like carbon dioxide.
Breathing through your nose is recommended as this filters and warms the air prior to it hitting your lungs. See my previous post to refresh your mind on the benefits of nose breathing.
To maximise your breath effectively breathing techniques can help you breathe better and fully. The following breathing exercise will help your breathe slower and deeper.
Deep belly breathing from the abdomen
- Sit in a comfortable position with a tall spine.
- Take a long, slow, full breath in through the nose
- Hold the breath for a count of four
- Then slowly release the breath through your mouth for a count of eight
- Repeat this action five times
This exercise activates the diaphragm and reduces your breathing rate through breath control exercises and relaxation. It turns on your parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for relaxation, to increase oxygen to the body’s cells.