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. Consequently, perfecting your breathing technique can improve your overall health, reduce stress, and enhance your physical performance.

5 Ways To Improve Your Breathing with James Nestor

Breathing is an involuntary function that you perform automatically. 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. And what better time to think about how well you breathe, than on World Breathing Day. This is celebrated every year in April and led by the International Breathwork Foundation (IBF). This year’s theme is “Time for Healing”.

Importance of Proper Breathing

A correct breathing technique is a vital tool that assists in helping your body to function effectively and efficiently. By ensuring adequate oxygenation and respiratory function, breath control can also help to reduce stress and enhance mental clarity. This contributes to the overall functioning of your body and mind.

The primary function of breathing is to bring oxygen into your body and expel carbon dioxide. Oxygen is essential for cellular respiration, the process by which cells convert oxygen and glucose into energy. Proper breathing ensures an adequate supply of oxygen to all cells, tissues, and organs, supporting their optimal function.

Importantly, deep breathing will help to facilitate this exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your lungs. This leads to better oxygenation of your blood. When this oxygen-rich blood is then delivered to all parts of your body, it nourishes cells and tissues to promote overall health, vitality and physical wellbeing.

Proper Way to Breathe for Physical Wellbeing

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

Firstly, physical fitness is important for your wellbeing. 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.

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.

How to Breathe Properly

Introducing POWERbreathe breathing training into your daily routine can strengthen your respiratory muscles, leading to improved lung function and efficiency. This can make it easier to inhale deeply and fully and exhale deeply and fully. Even with a busy schedule, breathing training is well worth incorporating into your wellness routine.

Furthermore, deep, diaphragmatic breathing activates your body’s relaxation response, triggering the parasympathetic nervous system. This can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and promote a sense of calm and relaxation.

Breathing Training Promotes Proper Breathing 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.

POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT)

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

Mouth Breathing Training

Inspiratory muscle training with POWERbreathe requires you to use your mouth as opposed to your nose to perform breathing training. This is so that you are able to subject your breathing muscles to a sufficient stimulus that will elicit improvement in breathing muscle strength and stamina, and consequently, a reduction in breathing fatigue. In fact, POWERbreathe IMT is more effective than aerobic exercise for improving your breathing strength. This is because aerobic exercise is not sufficient to elicit the full potential of your breathing muscles.

Benefits of POWERbreathe IMT for Physical Wellbeing and Performance

By strengthening your breathing muscles, 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.

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. This not only includes athletes, but also individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and heart failure patients.

Recently, research by the University of Colorado that used POWERbreathe IMT to perform IMST (inspiratory muscle strength training), also 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…

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.

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 if different breathing techniques, including POWERbreathe breathing training, 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.

By strengthening your expiratory muscles with POWERbreathe EMT, you are improving your ability to exhale air forcefully. This leads to more effective lung function. If you have respiratory issues resulting from advancing age or a health condition, such as stroke, this is particularly beneficial, as it can enhance cough effectiveness to clear mucus 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.

Expiratory muscle training helps reduce expiratory muscle fatigue by enhancing the endurance and efficiency of your expiratory muscles. During activities requiring sustained or repetitive exhalation, this is helpful as it delays the onset of breathing fatigue and improves overall exercise tolerance.

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.

Breathing Properly for Physical Wellbeing

Because breathing training addresses respiratory weakness and dysfunction, it can help you breathe more comfortably and engage more fully in daily activities. This is 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.

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.

Finally, this breathing exercise from the organisers of World Breathing Day, offers an excellent means to transition into the rest of your day. We hope you found this blog to be of interest; now it’s time to reward yourself with 6-minutes of self-care. Enjoy.