Greenwich, CT: Are you breathing in 3D?
In this quick VIDEO, Elite Health Services Physical Therapist, Eric Keene, demonstrates a simple exercise to teach you how to breathe properly throughout the day and during exercise.
2 Common “Air-rors”
Many people only breathe “into their chest”, lifting and expanding their chest when they inhale. Others have been taught to breath “into their belly”. While the latter is usually a better strategy, it is still incomplete.
When you inhale and exhale, your rib-cage should move 3-dimensionally. You torso should fill up “like a balloon”, in all directions. If you put your hands on the sides of your ribs, you feel them move out to the side when you breathe in. If you are sitting in chair, you should be able to visualize that air pushing back into the chair. Improving your breathing mechanics will help you take deeper breaths during exercise, which will help control your heart rate and prevent it from rising simply because you are breathing too rapidly.
Proper breathing mechanics also support optimal posture. Breathing alone is a movement and we do it more than any other in our lifetime. Your abdominal muscles (along with your diaphragm) are attached to your ribs and pelvis and act continuously to move the ribs in order to pump air in and out of the body. Motion becomes a habit (think “muscle memory”) and that habit becomes your posture.
3D Breathing with a Stretching Strap
In a sitting or kneeling position, wrap some kind of strap around your ribs. Ideally, the strap is nearly at the level of your lowest ribs. Cross the strap and hold it in your hands (see video). Pull the strap fairly tight, but not so tight that it doesn’t move when you breathe in.
When you breathe in, you should feel the air “stretch the strap”. You want to stretch the strap as much as possible and you especially want to visualize and feel your rib cage expanding out to the side and backwards.
When you breathe out, pull the strap and breathe all of the air out of your body. Get “as skinny as possible”, pulling the strap to help you feel the movement of your ribs.
Perform this breathing cycle for 3-5 minutes as often as you would like and try to remind yourself of this pattern throughout the day and when you are working out.
# # #
ABOUT ELITE HEALTH SERVICES: World Class Physical Therapy & Sports Performance
“We believe that you should accept nothing less than moving with ease, being free of pain, and feeling good about yourself every single day.”
Sometimes the best ideas come out of necessity. As athletes and therapists we wanted to create an environment for:
• people like us to train, get stronger and heal if we were injured.
• dedicated, motivated athletes of all ages to train, improve and be the best version of themselves.
• people facing, or rehabbing from an injury or surgery to heal and maintain their active lifestyles.
Elite Health Services has evolved from that original vision with your needs in mind.