Breathing Properly

Breathing is automatic and therefore something we do not think about that often.  Believe it or not there is so much more to breathing than inhaling and exhaling.  Breathing is like any other motor skill and can be corrected with certain exercises and tips. 

The average person takes 20,000 dysfunctional breaths per day.  

The muscles used for breathing and posture are the same. Suboptimal breathing patterns and poor posture are often associated with complaints such as low back pain.  Maintaining great posture and breathing is important throughout the day and becomes more difficult during exercise.  

Imagine you had a rubber band around your belly button and chest/upper back.  When you take a breath in it should stretch the rubber band in those areas.  

The diaphragm is often overlooked.  The zone of apposition (ZOA) is is the area of the diaphragm that has a cylinder, dome shaped part which corresponds directly with the lower rib cage.  The ZOA is controlled by the abdominal muscles and tension in the diaphragm.  


When the ZOA is not working properly there are two main negative consequences; 

1.) Less air in and less air out

2.) Diminished activation of the transverse abdominis for not only breathing but also lumbar stabilization

Often times when we are looking for solutions to low back pain, we do not look to improper breathing patterns.  



2 Ways to Improve Breathing Patterns:

1.) When training in static positions (plank, side plank, squat iso-holds) instead of holding for a specific amount of time, try completing as many breaths as possible.  Try holding a plank for 5 full breaths where the focus is on expanding the entire trunk 360 degrees! 

2.) Practice the Crocodile Breath termed by Gray Cook.  Here is an activation exercise where you lie face down on your stomach, make yours hands into fists and rest your forehead on top.  Take deep breaths here with an emphasis on 360* breathing.  Inhale 6 seconds, pause 4 seconds, and exhale 6 seconds.   

An added benefit of breathing exercises is that you feel calm afterwards! If you have any questions about this article, feel free to contact me.  

Yours in health,