We all do it, but are we doing it right?
Breathing is controlled by the autonomic nervous system in the brain, which means we don’t need to think about it for it to happen. However, we can override this and take conscious control over our breathing, and sometimes this can be for the better or worse.
How often do you find yourself holding your breath without even realising? This can happen when we’re concentrating or doing something strenuous. As Physiotherapists we see this a lot when clients are exercising, but breath holding can have adverse effects on your cardiovascular system, so it is important to practice good breathing control. As a general rule when exercising, you should exhale on the strenuous activity. For example, if you are straightening your leg out in front of you, first take a breath in, then exhale as you straighten your leg, then inhale as you lower it down again. As well your heart being happier, your muscles will thank you, too. The more oxygen you are supplying to your muscles, the better they will cope with the demands of the exercise. You may even find that you can exercise for longer and reap the benefits of this!
Give it a go and see how you feel, and as always if in doubt we are on hand for advice.
from ‘the Neurophysiotherapist Team at Simpson Physiotherapy Ltd.