When it comes to maintaining a healthy and strong body, we often prioritize exercise and nutrition, but one fundamental aspect that is frequently overlooked is proper breathing. One might think we don’t need to be taught how to breathe correctly, but many, if not most of our clients have faulty breathing patterns when they start at Ascend.. It’s one of the first things we assess and teach our clients when they start with us in our 6 Week Fit for Life Program.
Proper breathing supports the alignment of the spine and helps maintain good posture. When we breathe correctly, we engage the diaphragm—the main muscle responsible for breathing—more efficiently. As we inhale deeply, the diaphragm contracts and moves downward, allowing the lungs to expand fully. This action elongates the spine, creating a natural curve in the lower back and aligns the body from head to toe. With improved posture, the risk of developing musculoskeletal imbalances, such as rounded shoulders or a forward head posture, is reduced.
Proper breathing also activates the core muscles, which are essential for stability and strength. The core encompasses a group of muscles including the deep abdominals, pelvic floor muscles, and lower back muscles. When we exhale fully, the diaphragm relaxes and the core muscles engage to support the organs and stabilize the spine. By consciously engaging the core during inhalation and exhalation, we enhance its’ activation, leading to improved core strength and stability.
To breathe properly, follow these instructions:
Find a comfortable position. We find it easiest to learn how to breathe correctly when lying down.
Inhale deeply: Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly. Breathe in through your nose, allowing your abdomen to expand. The hand on your belly should rise, and the hand on your chest should rise only slightly, and only during the last third of your breath.
Exhale fully: Slowly exhale through your mouth, drawing your belly button towards your spine. Activate your core muscles as you release the breath.
Practice mindful breathing: Throughout the day, pay attention to your breath. Take moments to inhale deeply and exhale fully, focusing on engaging your core and maintaining good posture.
Incorporate breathing into exercise: Whether you’re lifting weights, practicing yoga, or engaging in any physical activity, consciously connect your breath to your movements. Inhale during the preparatory phase and exhale during the exertion phase, engaging your core for stability.
By prioritizing proper breathing techniques, you can improve your posture, activate your core muscles, and enhance overall physical well-being. Remember, a strong and stable foundation begins with each breath you take.
At Ascend, we are here to help. Our 6 Week Fit For Life Program designed for people over 40 is a great place to start. Unlike a regular gym where you’d be left to figure it out on your own, we give every member personalized coaching at each session so we can make sure you feel your best at the end of the 6 weeks. We design your program specifically around your personal fitness level and your goals to help you see results in the most safe and effective way possible. To learn more, go tohttp://www.getfitchilliwack.com or call us at 604-392-0892.