Why you're breathing wrong - AmericaNowNews.com

Why you're breathing wrong

Breathing is something most of us take for granted, and according to America Now Wellness Expert Peggy Hall, it's something that most of us do wrong.

"When you breathe shallowly in the upper part of your lungs, you don't take in enough oxygen. That can lead to headaches, low energy, mental and physical fatigue, and can even contribute to illness down the road," she explains.

Peggy shares an easy way to breathe more deeply so you can increase your energy and vitality:

1. Take a book that's a couple of inches thick and place it against your belly, covering your belly button level and low abdomen.

  • Place your fingers on the edges of the book and press down slightly as you exhale. This will help you expel all the stale air in your lungs.
  • Inhale and press the book away, using your abdominal muscles. Your upper chest should remain still.
  • Repeat in this manner, inhaling for a count of four and exhaling for a count of four. This is like "resistance training" for your breathing, Peggy explains.

"Babies and animals naturally breathe with their belly. Notice it the next time you have the chance," Peggy suggests. "As adults, we're always trying to suck our stomachs in, not knowing this hampers our breathing."

2. The reason this type of belly-breathing works is because as you expand your belly, the diaphragm drops, which allow the bottom part of the lungs to fill more deeply. That's where more of the red blood cells are that carry oxygen throughout the body. The diaphragm is a tendon at the bottom of the rib cage that assist with lung function.

3. Practice for about two minutes a day, or about 20 breaths. "Within just a few days, you will get stronger and this will become easier," Peggy promises. "Your lung capacity will improve, and that has an effect on your physical stamina and mental well-being."

The added benefit is that belly-breathing stimulates the "vagus nerve" which runs from your brain through your heart to your abdomen. Scientists have found that when the vagus nerve is stimulated (like it is with the belly-breathing), it has a beneficial effect on your blood pressure, heart rate and nervous system and digestive system. Stimulation of the vagus nerve can also help with depression. Peggy says deep breathing can also suppress the urge to eat under emotional stress, because deep breathing offers an instant sense of calm -- without the calories!

Copyright 2013 America Now. All rights reserved.

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