4 benefits of breathing

Breathing is one of those things you don’t really think about — until you can’t.  It’s one of those things that many of us take for granted. Have you ever exerted yourself so hard that you are just completely out of breath? Oxygen seems like a luxury at that point.  You gasp and gasp and still can’t seem to get enough. We tend to put more focus on other aspects of our health but rarely even give a second thought to the many benefits of breathing.

Getting started with deep breathing is easy

Deep breathing exercises are a small yet powerful habit to improve your breathing. You don’t need any special equipment, you can do it every day, anywhere. You may be surprised there are many emotional, psychological, and physical benefits to deep, full breathing.  I’ll reveal a few benefits of breathing you can expect as you give it extra attention.

Increased Lung Capacity

strong lungs

Your lungs are like any other muscle.  They can be strengthened with exercise. With regular deep breathing exercises, you can actually train your lungs to expand. This increases your ability to run for extended periods of time. This is one of the great benefits of breathing as you start half marathon training or marathon training.  Practicing deep breathing exercises can allow you to tap into the full potential of your pulmonary system. It enables you to both intakes and distributes oxygen throughout your body more efficiently.

Pain Management is one of the lesser known benefits of breathing

Believe it or not, as you improve your breathing exercises, it can help diminish physical pain. For those in constant pain, this can be the greatest benefit of breathing. Deep breathing helps to release a chemical called endorphins throughout the body, which acts as your body’s natural pain killer. By redirecting your thoughts to your breathing, and focusing on each inhale and exhale, you train your mind to find a state of calm amid physical pain.  This process trains your body to tolerate and endure more physical pain as you continue marathon training.

Stress Relief

stress relief

Think of a moment in your life when you were under a lot of stress. How did you feel?  How did you deal with the stress? You might not realize that your body has a subconscious way of dealing with stress.  Short shallow breaths from the chest rather than deep in the lower lungs.  This increases the levels of cortisol and adrenaline in your body, causing an increase in both blood pressure and pulse. This is an involuntary process that the body initiates to protect itself in times of stress. The good news is that while you can’t control this automatic stress response, you can control your relaxation response as you learn to improve your breathing.

Vagus nerve helps manage stress

Deep, slow breathing, from the diaphragm, stimulates something called the vagus nerve, which is the largest nerve in your body running from the brain to the abdomen. It is a major part of the nervous system that promotes relaxation, slowing the heart rate, and generally calming the body. For more cool information about the vagus nerve click here and here.

how to practice deep breathing

Better mood and energy are clear benefits of breathing

We all have bad days. There are days we just feel sluggish and grumpy. Although this can be attributed to many different factors, one of the most effective ways to instantly boost your energy and mood is to focus on your breathing. Research has shown that changing breathing patterns resulted in significantly different emotional states. In this study, participants were shown proper breathing techniques to combat feelings of anxiety and stress.  They found that spending a just few minutes each day taking deep, full breaths increases the oxygen and mood-boosting hormones like, oxytocin and prolactin to the brain which improves overall mood and energy levels.

Wrapping up benefits of breathing

There’s so much unlocked power in breathing. Physical and mental benefits abound when you take time to center yourself and focus on breathing. It’s super easy and inexpensive to get started and begin feeling the many benefits. Get started today to experience those benefits for yourself.