How to Breathe to Engage Your Core & Improve Your Posture
Breathing occurs naturally so we don't consciously think about how we are performing this movement. But, just like any other movement, there is an ideal way to perform the action that optimizes function throughout our body.
Our breath is the foundation of life - without breath there is no life. Our breath is also the foundation of our core functions and there are many benefits to breathing correctly, including:
engaging our core muscles
circulating blood and oxygenating tissues
reducing tension in our body
How are you breathing?
Take a moment and close your eyes. Take a breath in. Notice where your breath goes. Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your upper abdomen. Take a breath in. Notice which hand rises more. If you are standing notice where you are placing your weight - through your heels, balls of your feet, inside or outside of your feet. Is there more weight on one foot compared to the other foot? Notice the position of your mouth: are your lips together or apart? Are your teeth together or apart? Where is your tongue in your mouth - on the bottom, on the roof or somewhere in between?
If you are like most of us, your weight is on your heels and the hand on your chest rises more than the hand on your abdomen when you breathe in.
This is the reverse of the ideal breathing pattern. Our breathing pattern, just like all other movements, is habitual but can be changed with focus and practice.
Watch the video below to understand the ideal way to breathe.
Here is a summary of the 6 basic tips to change your breathing pattern from restrictive to free:
1. Stand or sit up tall. Lean forwards as if you are going off a steep ski jump. Back off 50-70%. Most of your weight should be through the front of your feet. 2. Look straight ahead. 3. Keep your lips together, teeth slightly apart and your tongue resting gently on the roof of your mouth. 4. Take a breath in and expand your abdomen outwards and to the sides. Imagine your lower ribs and abdomen are a trampoline - as you breathe in, the trampoline expands downwards causing your abdomen to expand outwards. There should be very little movement in your chest and shoulders. 5. Breathe out slowly and fully allowing your 'trampoline' (lower ribs and abdomen) to rebound upwards. 6. Repeat.
This blog is available as an educational template and exercise video on healthSwapp that can be shared with your patients through the app.
Registered Physiotherapist Co-Founder at healthSwapp @MBergeronRPT