Stretch to take a deep breath

Breathing is an automatic process performed by your body without you having to think about it. At least, until you experience difficulties of some kind. It isn’t always easy to take a deep breath, especially if you have a condition that affects your respiratory system, such as asthma, or in some cases when you are recovering from COVID-19.

However, breathing exercises and even some postures can ease the situation, according to experts who suggest a very specific stretching exercise.

Stretch to take a deep breath

Lying face down, rest your hands on the ground and straighten your elbows, therefore, stretching your chest. In this position, the upper back is extended, which can slightly “open” the chest, allowing for greater extension, experts explain.

The more your ribs “open”, the more space your lungs have to inflate as you inhale. While the support your forearms and elbows provide also help in this effort by keeping you grounded.

“The fixation of the elbows and arms contributes to more stability in shoulders and the muscles that attach to the chest. This can help it expand, leading to better and deeper breathing,” the experts explain.

Useful alternatives

If you have difficulty performing this stretch, you can also try sitting on your knees and placing your arms or elbows on your knees instead of on the floor.

If you feel uncomfortable lying on your stomach, another option is to lie on a foam roller.

For this deep breath stretch, you have to lie on your back with your knees bent and a foam roller under your shoulders. So you can open your chest and bend over the foam roller.

“This facilitates the extension of the thoracic spine where our ribs are connected. And this in turn contributes to a more flexibility within the chest,” the experts explain.

Another stretch you can try is breathing with lips closed. “Breathing with lips closed helps to relieve shortness of breath and helps people regain control of their breathing,” the experts point out.

Breathe through your nose and exhale through your mouth with your lips closed as if trying to whistle. Exhale in a slow, controlled manner, practicing daily for three minutes in total to reap the most benefits.


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