Let’s talk about breathing. Seems simple enough doesn’t it? I mean, we technically all know how to breathe. But there’s actually some things you might be doing that are actually hurting you more than they’re helping you. So we’ve narrowed down the top four things you should be mindful of when it comes to breathing, and your health.
1. Use Your Nose, Not Your Mouth
Are you a mouth breather? Don’t worry, we all are… sometimes. Exerting yourself? Congested? We’ve all been there. But there are actually some people that breathe through their mouth more often than they should! For some mouth breathers, it’s a structural issue with their nose (and we’d encourage those people to check out Hale-Aid). But sometimes, we just need to be mindful about how we’re breathing and make sure we use our noses, not our mouths. You see, the nose has the capability of filtering and humidifying air and warming it in a way that our mouths aren’t able to do! In addition, mouth breathing can lead to bad breath and studies even point to nasal breathing improving your mood, memory, and productivity. Who knew you could up your game at work or school just by paying attention to how you breathe!
2. Belly Breathe!
Humans are actually natural belly breathers. What do we mean by that? Well, the diaphragm, which is a key muscle in the respiration process, is situated right above your stomach. If you are breathing the correct way, your breath will begin in your nose and move down to your stomach as your diaphragm contracts. Your belly will begin to expand and your lungs will fill up with air. While your lungs are in your chest, mindfully expanding the chest during inhaling can actually restrict your lung capacity because you're not maximizing the action of your powerful diaphragm muscle. So while it might seem a little counterintuitive, you should focus on expanding your belly when you inhale, not your chest.
3. Keep Your Lungs Healthy
Regular exercise allows you to strengthen your lungs and increase your ability to create a healthy, regular breathing pattern. While this might be obvious, don’t forget about other factors like air quality. Daily stressors like allergens, irritants, and pollutants are ever changing, and a mindful approach to promoting a healthy environment can go a long way in keeping your respiratory system strong and healthy. Use tools like air purifiers and respirator masks where necessary, and don’t forget about your nose’s natural filtration when pollutants are unavoidable.
Everyone knows that trivia fact that says the human body is 60% water, so it should go without saying that it’s important to stay hydrated. If you’re sick or congested, breathing through your nose might be a challenge but remaining hydrated will help! According to an article written by the American Lung Association with input from Mark Courtney, a respiratory therapist, “Hydration helps thin secretions and helps the mouth and throat add humidity to the air we breathe.” Smart advice from a smart guy.
Here at Hale, we prioritize breathing when it comes to health and wellness. The oxygen in the air you breathe is absolutely fundamental to life, so why not take a few minutes a day to mindfully check in with how you’re breathing? You’ll realize just how big of an impact your breath can have on your health and wellness. And while you’re at it, check out breathehale.com for the latest and greatest when it comes to breathing health.