person with one hand on abdomen, breathing training with powerbreathe plus medic

Breathing properly is essential for maintaining optimal health and wellbeing. However, improper breathing habits can develop over time due to health and medical conditions, stress, poor posture, or other factors. Thankfully, perfecting your breathing technique can improve your overall health, reduce stress, and enhance your physical performance. And what better time to think about how well you breathe, than on World Breathing Day with the theme “Time for Healing”.

5 Ways To Improve Your Breathing With James Nestor

Understanding The Significance Of Proper Breathing

Breathing is an involuntary function that you perform automatically and is a cornerstone of wellbeing. Therefore, you might naturally assume that you are breathing correctly without the need for breathing training. However, breathing exercises and techniques are just as important as other forms of exercise or self-care activities.

The primary function of breathing is to bring oxygen into your body and expel carbon dioxide. Oxygen is essential for cellular respiration, converting oxygen and glucose into energy. Ensuring effective oxygenation and respiratory function through proper breathing and breath control reduces stress, enhances mental clarity, and supports overall bodily function.

Diaphragmatic Breathing Benefits

Importantly, deep, diaphragmatic breathing helps to facilitate the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your lungs. This leads to better oxygenation of your blood, nourishing cells and tissues to promote overall health, vitality and physical wellbeing. Diaphragmatic breathing helps to activate your body’s relaxation response too, promoting calmness, reducing stress and even lowering blood pressure.

The Core Of Physical Wellbeing

Physical wellbeing refers to the ‘state of optimal health and functioning of the body’, and encompasses various aspects of physical health.

First of importance for your wellbeing is physical fitness. This includes cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and body composition. In fact, regular physical activity is a crucial component of physical wellbeing as it helps to enhance mood and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Furthermore, learning how to breathe properly will help you to maintain physical fitness and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Overall, physical wellbeing involves taking proactive steps to care for and maintain the health and functioning of your body. An essential step towards this includes how to breathe properly.

Incorporating Breathing Training

POWERbreathe breathing training strengthens your breathing muscles, leading to improved lung function and efficiency. So it’s a good idea to introduce it into your daily routine. With Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) you will find it easier to inhale deeply and fully. With Expiratory Muscle Training (EMT) you will find it easier to and exhale deeply and fully. Even with a busy schedule, breathing training is well worth incorporating into your wellness routine.

POWERbreathe Training For Proper Technique

POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) and POWERbreathe Expiratory Muscle Training (EMT) are two forms of respiratory muscle training that provide various benefits for physical wellbeing. Each is performed using a drug-free, hand-held device that you breathe through, via a mouthpiece.

Breathing Training Best Practice

Targeting your breathing muscles for maximum effect requires breathing training using your mouth as opposed to nasal breathing training. This ensures that your breathing muscles receive adequate stimulation for improvements in breathing strength and stamina, and a reduction in fatigue. POWERbreathe IMT is better than aerobic exercise for enhancing breathing strength and stamina due to its ability to target and fully engage your inspiratory muscles. And by following the scientifically proven training protocol prescribed in each IMT and EMT device’s user manual, you’ll be laying a good foundation for making your breathing more efficient overall.

POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT)

POWERbreathe IMT targets the muscles involved in inhalation (breathing in), including your diaphragm and intercostal muscles. It is performed using a POWERbreathe IMT breathing trainer.

POWERbreathe IMT Benefits

By strengthening your inspiratory muscles with POWERbreathe IMT, you can improve respiratory efficiency, leading to better oxygen uptake and utilisation during physical activities. Because the respiratory system plays a crucial role in supplying oxygen to working muscles during prolonged exercise, improving your inspiratory muscle strength and stamina can delay the onset of breathing fatigue. As a result, you are able to sustain physical activity for longer periods. And in sport, this can translate to improved performance and the difference between 1st and 2nd place in competition.

Not only will regular IMT lead to increased inspiratory muscle strength and stamina, but also improved coordination of your breathing muscles. This enhanced function contributes to overall respiratory health, reducing the risk of inspiratory muscle fatigue and dysfunction.

Furthermore, stronger inspiratory muscles can help you to breathe more effectively, reducing the sensation of breathlessness during exertion. What’s more, research shows that POWERbreathe IMT reduces dyspnea (shortness of breath) in various populations. It is particularly beneficial for athletes, but also individuals with respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and heart failure.

Recently, research by the University of Colorado that used IMST (inspiratory muscle strength training) using the POWERbreathe K3 to lower blood pressure, found that:

“performing inspiratory muscle strength training (IMST) can work as well as medicine at reducing high blood pressure.”

Time-Efficient Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training Lowers Blood Pressure and Improves Endothelial Function…

Enhancing Sports Performance Through Breathing Training

In addition to improving breathing stamina, IMT can lead to performance gains in activities requiring sustained or high-intensity breathing. This is particularly beneficial in sports such as swimming, cycling, and running. By optimising your breathing muscle function, you are on your way to achieving better performance outcomes in sports.

In this Koopcast podcast, exercise scientist at Harbor-UCLA, Dr. Nick Tiller discusses different breathing techniques, including POWERbreathe breathing training, to see if they really work and how they can be incorporated into training.

POWERbreathe Expiratory Muscle Training (EMT)

POWERbreathe EMT is designed to strengthen your expiratory muscles. These include your abdominal muscles and internal intercostals, which are essential for generating forceful exhalation. Just like POWERbreathe IMT, it is also performed using a drug-free, hand-held device.

POWERbreathe EMT Benefits

POWERbreathe EMT strengthens your expiratory muscles, enhancing the endurance and efficiency of your expiratory muscles.

EMT improves your ability to exhale air forcefully, enhancing cough effectiveness and reducing fatigue during exhalation. During activities requiring sustained or repetitive exhalation, this is helpful as it delays the onset of breathing fatigue and improves overall exercise tolerance.

If you have respiratory issues resulting from advancing age or a health condition, such as stroke, this is particularly beneficial, as enhanced cough effectiveness helps to clear secretions from the airways. Excessive secretions can result in the lungs becoming more vulnerable to infection. If secretions such as mucus and phlegm are a problem, you might be interested in reading our blog that discusses how to get rid of phlegm in throat and lungs naturally.

Strengthening your expiratory muscles can also benefit speech and swallowing functions. The reason being, your expiratory muscles play a role in controlling airflow during speech production and swallowing. Following regular expiratory muscle training, you should experience improvements in swallowing efficiency, articulation, and vocal quality. So, if you want others to hear how well you sing in the shower, then POWERbreathe EMT is for you.

Enhancing Physical Wellbeing

Because breathing training addresses respiratory weakness and dysfunction, it can help you breathe more comfortably and engage more fully in daily activities. It’s especially beneficial if you have a debilitating respiratory condition, as it can contribute to an improved quality of life by reducing respiratory symptoms, enhancing pulmonary function, and increasing tolerance for physical activity.

Incorporating POWERbreathe Training Into Your Routine

Overall, both POWERbreathe IMT and EMT offer a range of benefits for physical wellbeing, including improved respiratory function, enhanced exercise performance, and better management of respiratory symptoms in those with underlying health conditions. Incorporating these training modalities into a comprehensive exercise programme can promote overall respiratory health and enhance quality of life.

Whether you’re an athlete seeking performance gains or someone managing a respiratory condition, integrating POWERbreathe breathing training into your routine can enhance respiratory health and overall physical and mental wellbeing.