Top tips to breathe your way to healthy weight loss

It is vital that we learn how to activate our diaphragm, improving our oxygen intake. (Shutterstock)

Breathing is regulated and coordinated by your autonomic nervous system, the rate and volume of breath is influenced by physical, chemical and emotional factors.

The long periods of time office-goers spend seated at a desk is harming breathing, as is the amount of stress encountered on a daily basis.

As you sit down, your body adapts to a forward flexed position, compressing your diaphragm which is the main muscle used in the process of breathing.

Over time, this means we begin to breathe into our upper rib cage, which lifts up, using the muscles in our chest, neck and shoulders to substitute for inefficient or inhibited diaphragm activity. This can lead to neck pain, back pain, risk of injury and even migraines.

It is vital that we learn how to activate our diaphragm, improving our oxygen intake which will improve your well-being all round.

Tip 1. Self Myofascia Release

Applying some myofasica release will allow the upper abdominal muscles (which have become tight due to sitting) become less restrictive, which will increase movement in the diaphragm muscle.

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I strongly recommend taking a very passive approach to this area as it is highly sensitive. Using your hands or fingers to release it is a safer option.

You can lie on top of a tennis ball but do not use anything harder.

Refer to the diagram for how to target this muscle area.

Step 1: Lie on your back with your knees bent, using a yoga block or pillow if needed under you head.

Step 2: Locate the area for release by placing your hands to the side of your upper abdominals, not in the center.

Step 3: Slowly press with your fingers tips searching for tight trigger points, once you found it

Hold mild pressure for 1-2 minutes as you breathe slowly and deeply waiting for the tension to decrease slightly.

Always keep in mind you should be working the side of the abdominals and not in the center, which runs down towards the belly button.

Tip 2. Belly breathing

This works best after you have completed the myofascia release. Your focus should be on sending the breath to the belly area, where your diaphragm is located.

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Step 1: Lie on your back with your knees bent.

Use a yoga block or pillow if you needed under you head.

Step 2: Place one hand in the center of the upper abdominals and the other hand on your chest.

Step 3: Take a deep breath into your nose and focus on sending the breath to your belly as you do so.

Step 4: Use the hand placed in the center of the upper abdominals as a weighted object, so you can focus the breath and try and push your hand up towards the ceiling

Pay close attention the other hand placed on your chest.

If you feel that hand rising, then try to, reset your focus.

Continue to breathe slowly and deeply, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your nose.

You may find it’s very hard to breathe in, as you are not used to it but the body will slowly adapt with practice and patience.

You may also feel very relaxed after this exercise, it’s a great sign. This means you have simulated the parasympathetic branch of your nervous system.

This exercise can be done as frequently as you wish throughout the day.

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Fitness expert Vahdaneh Vahid can be reached on Facebook and Instagram.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:44 - GMT 06:44
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