How to breathe when you are short of breath

Short of breath is also known as suffering from dyspnoea or suffering from breathing difficulties. In fact if you suffer from any respiratory condition you are more than likely to be short of breath.  Being short of breath can have serious repercussions for your health if not addressed.  Not everyone knows or recognises the symptoms of a person suffering from shortness of breath, so here are the common signs and symptoms:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Breathing through pursed lips
  • Constant feeling of being winded or unable to speak
  • Sitting down with hands on your knees
  • Using chest and neck muscles to breathe

However, adopting some breathing techniques can help you breathe more efficiently. One of the most common breathing exercises is breathing through pursed lips.  When breathing through pursed lips you are using less energy to breathe and you can relax too.  If you are short of breath, pursed lip breathing helps you slow down the pace of your breathing making you feel less short of breath.

If you do any activity that makes you short of breath you should always use pursed lip breathing. These activities include:

  • Exercising
  • Bending
  • Lifting
  • Climbing stairs

Pursed lip breathing should be practised frequently and can be done anywhere at any time.  However, try and practice the technique at least 4-5 times a day particularly when you are:

  • Watching television
  • Using your computer
  • Reading a book or magazine

How do I practice pursed lip breathing

Pursed lip breathing is very simple to do and requires little or no effort.  However, you need to be totally relaxed, especially your neck and shoulder muscles. You also need to be sitting comfortably in a chair with your feet firmly on the ground.  So, here are the steps in order:

  1. Breathe in (inhale) very slowly through your nose for two counts.
  2. As you breathe in you should feel your tummy get tighter.
  3. Pucker your lips as though you are going to blow or whistle.
  4. Breathe out (exhale) slowly through your lips for four or more counts.

It is important you should exhale normally and do not force the air out.  It is equally important that you do not hold your breath when you are practising pursed lip breathing.  These steps should be repeated until your breathing slows down. Pursed lip breathing is great for people who suffer from short of breath symptoms and for people with respiratory conditions.

Leave a Comment

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.