How well do you breathe? Firstly, you need to observe how you currently breathe.
- Are you a ‘nose breather’ or a ‘mouth breather’?
- Count the number of times your breathe in one minute.
- Place one hand on the middle of your chest just below your collarbone and the other hand on your belly, above the belly button and below the chest bone. Which hand moves the most when you breathe in and out? This will determine if you breathe more into the upper lobes of your lungs or if you’re a belly breather.
So armed with this information, you can now check how well you breathe.
Nose or mouth?
Firstly, it is important to always breathe through your nose not your mouth. The mucous membranes of your nose warm and humidify the air you breathe, making it more agreeable to your lung tissue.
Nasal hairs filter the air, removing air-borne allergens and viruses. The nasal hairs also produce nitric oxide, which when added to the air you breathe, increases the uptake rate of oxygen in your lungs. In fact, because of the nitric oxide you will get 10% more oxygen from the air you breathe through your nose.
Nasal breathing provides more resistance than the mouth, slowing down your breathing and giving the lungs longer to absorb the oxygen and expel the carbon dioxide. In addition, your lungs inflate and deflate at a gentler rate.
Your body is also calmed by slow, deep, rhythmic breaths, helping flip your nervous system from ‘fight and flight’ into ‘rest and repair’.
Check out the next blog to see if you are a shallow or deep breather…