Lets start with a little test. Standing upright and take a big breath in, as much as possible, do it with a group of people to see what everyone else is doing. Did you notice peoples shoulders elevating to the ceiling, there neck muscles straining and not much movement in their stomachs?
Dysfunctional breathing patterns are unfortunately more common due to our sedentary sitting lifestyle and other factors as well. Introducing to you the diaphragm.
This dome shaped muscles sits just above your liver and is responsible for breathing. However due to our poor postures, time poor lifestyle and less than optimum stress control mechanisms, our breathing patterns have taken a hit. It is no wonder then why people now-days are suffering from chronic neck, low back and even jaw pain. No amount of stretching, releasing, prodding or poking your painful areas will fix it.
Diaphragmatic breathing is advantageous as it is more energy efficient, which means that you will feel less tired and more energized. It will also help regulate your nervous system from a sympathetic state (think of fighting off a saber toothed tiger) to a parasympathetic state (laying on a beach getting your tan on). If you have pain this will also help reduce your pain and control it more effectively. For the athletes reading this, utilising diaphragmatic breathing will improve your performance by up to 30%.
So now you know the importance of diaphragm breathing, the key is implanting it. A simple and effective way is to lay on your back and place a kettlebell(12 – 16 kg) on your belly. Whilst breathing in through your nose, try to lift the kettle with your belly. The weight will act as a cue to your brain to help use your diaphragm more effectively.
If you have had previous long standing injuries that have not resolved with traditional treatments, diaphragmatic retraining and other rehab-focused exercises used at Kinetic Healthcare may be a solution.
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