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Breathe well to feel better: here’s how to do it

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Breathe well to feel better: here’s how to do it

In the turmoil of everyday life there are many automatic actions of the human body that we forget about. First of all, breathing well, which can have a positive influence in all spheres of everyday life: it is well known that by mastering breathing correctly you can have a significant impact on physical and mental health, influencing not only physical performance but also well-being total.

Breathe well consciously

This apparently spontaneous act reveals an intrinsic power, capable of transforming the training experience above all into a journey towards 360° wellbeing. Precisely because of the fundamental role of breathing in carrying out every activity, it is important to pay the right attention to it, in order to derive the greatest possible benefit from it.

The difference between breathing deeply and taking big breaths

“We must be aware of the difference between breathing deeply and taking large breaths as the latter, if taken too often during the day without metabolic needs requiring it, could lead to hyperventilation and respiratory dysfunction. Light, slow and deep breathing can instead increase the absorption and delivery of oxygen to our cells, helping to improve sleep, calm the mind and restore bodily functions affected by stress.” – explains Franscine Mouchette, Studio Manager at the Aspria Harbor Club in Milan, an oasis of sport and well-being in the San Siro area of ​​Milan for thirty years.

Breathing is the bridge between body and mind

Breathing is therefore an essential function of the body, and yet, how much do we stop to reflect on how it is carried out? In addition to providing the body with much-needed oxygen, proper breathing can reduce stress and improve concentration. “It is the bridge between the body and the mind. Practicing breath awareness during exercise not only improves physical performance, but can also promote one
overall state of well-being”, continues the expert.

Breathe well to feel better: here’s how to do it

But how do you know what the correct breathing technique is for the chosen activity? Some forms of exercise – such as yoga and pilates – have a very specific focus on breathing, but for other activities the directions are not always so precise. Here are some tips from Aspria Harbor Club experts to clarify.

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For aerobic activities

During aerobic activities such as running or cardiovascular exercises, good breathing allows the muscles to supply the oxygen they need. One of the most recommended methods is the 2 by 2 breathing rhythm, that is, taking two steps (one to the left, one to the right) while inhaling, and another two while exhaling, making sure to breathe with the diaphragm.

Breathing from the diaphragm, in fact, pushes the belly out, expanding the rib cage, obtaining a truly deep breath. This technique is also excellent for circuits, to fill up on oxygen between one exercise and another.

For high intensity activities

In the presence of a HIIT workout or high intensity exercises such as a boxing circuit, it is suggested to try to inhale through the nose. When lifting weights or in exercises aimed at developing body strength, a valuable tip is to exhale during the work phase, i.e. at the peak of the effort. This means, for example, exhaling as you press the barbell overhead in a shoulder press, or as you move away from the floor during push-ups, so you can effectively support the exercise and perform lifts with total control.

The situation changes in the case of prolonged maintenance exercises such as the plank. In this case, it’s best to aim for regular, controlled breaths on both inhalation and exhalation: some experts suggest counting to four as you inhale and four as you exhale.

For stretching activities

Slow, controlled breathing can help muscles relax, allowing for better stretching and greater flexibility.

It is recommended to inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth, with deep, relaxed and diaphragmatic breaths.

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Breathing rituals for well-being

To further enrich your wellness journey, Aspria Harbor Club experts share other valuable tips.

Respiratory awareness: Bring your attention to your breathing throughout the day. It is not only during training that breathing plays a crucial role, but also in everyday life. Breathing awareness can be a constant ally in reducing stress and improving overall health.

Yoga Vinyasa as a morning ritual: Incorporate a short Vinyasa yoga session in the morning. This can be an effective way to wake up your body, focus and prepare for the day. The combination of controlled movement and mindful breathing can put you in a positive state of mind and set the stage for a great day.

Evening respiratory relaxation rituals: Before going to sleep, dedicate a few minutes to a breathing relaxation ritual. This may include slow, deep breathing techniques to calm the nervous system and prepare the body for a restorative night of sleep.

Holistic Approach to Wellbeing: Embrace a holistic approach to wellness, including balanced nutrition, adequate rest and stress management practices. Your breath is just one element of this complex picture, and each aspect contributes to your overall health and vitality.

READ ALSO: 3 simple exercises to learn to breathe

Photo by Darius Bashar / Gabin Vallet / Jeremy Stewart / @LGNWVR / Katie Bush

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