Breathing exercises and how they can improve your health

Breathing exercises and how they can improve your health

Eating balanced meals and making healthy lifestyle choices are the foundation of a successful weight loss journey. Another beneficial thing you can do to improve your healthy lifestyle is breathing exercises. Incorporating mindful breathing into your wellness routine can improve your overall health and benefit your weight loss journey.

In this article, we discuss breathing exercises, their health benefits, and how to use them to improve your health.

What are breathing exercises?

Breathing exercises, or breathwork, involve slowly and deliberately controlling how you breathe. Deliberate, mindful breathing can help you experience a sense of relaxation and may reduce stress.  

Practicing different breathing techniques is a good idea whenever you feel overwhelmed or anxious. But if you regularly work them into your wellness routine, you may find that they benefit your mind and body in a number of different ways.

What are the health benefits of breathing exercises?

When you include breathing exercises into your health and wellness routine, you may be able to: 

Reduce stress levels:

Breathing exercises can be an effective way to help reduce stress levels. Slow and deliberate breathing sends a message to your brain that things are OK. This helps to calm your nervous system and reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Improve digestion:

Deep breathing before a meal can help stimulate the vagus nerve, which regulates muscle contraction and secretion of gastric acid and digestive enzymes. This can help relax the muscles in your intestinal tract to promote digestion.

Help with detoxification:

Breathing is responsible for most of the body’s detoxification process by helping to release carbon dioxide regularly. Breathing from your diaphragm supports better detoxification and increases oxygenation.

Lower heart rate:

Breathing and heart rate are regulated by the same parts of the brain. When you’re relaxed, you breathe more slowly, which can help your blood vessels dilate and decrease your heart rate.

Improve muscle function:

When you’re relaxed, your blood flow improves, which can help get more oxygen and essential nutrients to your muscles so they can function properly.

Boost mental clarity:

Enhanced oxygen supply to the brain may improve focus, concentration, and mental clarity.

What are common breathing exercises?

4-7-8 breathing:

Breathe in through your nose for four seconds, expanding the diaphragm and bringing air into your lungs. Hold your breath for seven seconds. Then, exhale through your mouth for eight seconds through pursed lips.

Deep breathing:

Take a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds, then release it slowly.

Pursed lip breathing:

Slowly inhale through your nose, filling up your lungs as much as you can. Then, exhale very slowly through pursed lips.

Diaphragmatic (belly) breathing:

Place a hand on your belly, slowly breathe in through your nose, and feel the belly expand while your chest remains still. Slowly exhale through the mouth and feel the belly draw inwards.

Alternate nostril breathing:

Best done sitting upright, with a long spine and relaxed shoulders. First, take a finger and press one nostril closed. Keeping your mouth closed, breathe in slowly through the open nostril, then release your finger and press the other nostril closed while exhaling through the open nostril. 

Tips for better breathing

To maximize the benefits of deep breathing exercises, follow these tips:

Practice regularly:

Consistency is key. Aim to practice your breathing exercises at the same time each day to establish a routine.

Create a comfortable environment:

Find a quiet, comfortable space where you can focus entirely on your breathing without distractions.

Maintain good posture:

Sit or lie down with a straight spine for maximum lung expansion.

Combine with other healthy habits:

Pair your breathing exercises with regular physical activity and a balanced diet for the best weight loss results.

Incorporating deep breathing exercises into your weight loss plan can bring myriad health benefits, from reducing stress to improving metabolism and mental clarity. Start today and experience the transformative power of better breathing.


This article was written by the GOLO team with facts supported by the following sources:


UH Hospitals