Breathslim Blog - Featuring breathing exercises, breathing therapy and proper breathing techniques.

Four Breathing Exercises for a Calmer, Happier Kid

Breathing exercises for children

Being a kid seems fun and carefree, especially to adults. What grown up doesn’t want to be a kid again? What we don’t remember with our rosy glasses looking back is that there is actually a lot of stress already in that time. Kids act out, they explode, they deal with confusion and social pressures. Conscious breathing has long been a tool for adults to decrease stress, be more mindful, and more creative. Breathing exercises also work for children and gives them a lifelong tool to manage stress and cultivate inner peace.

Conscious breathing takes your out of operating on the sympathetic nervous system, which is the fight or flight response, and into the parasympathetic nervous system, which governs relaxation and receptivity. There are four simple practices that you can teach children, which they can master and graduate to higher level breathing exercise. Take a moment after lunch, while you’re in the car, or before nap time to go through the breathing exercises.

Flower breath

A flower breath consists of breathing in deep through the nose and exhaling from the mouth, as if you’re smelling a flower. You get bonus points for this tension-busting practice if you actually go out and smell the roses.

Hissing breath

This is similar to the flower breath, but drawn out. Breathe in a deep inhale through the nostrils and then exhale from the mouth to create a hissing sound. Extend the exhale as long as possible and slow down the child’s breathing speed for the rapid default pace. This translates to helping the child slow down mentally and physically, being more present in the moment.

Bear breath

The bear breath is perfect for getting ready for nap time as it is meant to reflect a hibernating bear. Breathe in through the nose and pause, and then exhale through the nose as well and pause. Inhaling should last about four seconds with a pause (when you’re all full of breath) for one or two seconds before exhaling for another four seconds. When your lungs are empty, there should be a second or two of pause before inhaling again, and then repeat.

Bunny breath

The bunny breath is the go-to for a fun game. It’s just three quick inhales through the nose, like sniffing, and then one long exhale through the nose. The result looks like a little bunny wiggling his or her nose. This exercise is also good for upset or frightened children who can’t seem to catch their breath. This exercise helps them connect to the exhale and their breathing instead of spinning out.

The Power of Yellow

Yellow fruits and vegetables help improve blood and lymph circulation

Vitamin C is the wonder vitamin of the food world. Two ways to improve blood and lymph circulation are to take on a diet rich in Vitamin C and by further oxygenating your blood. Yellow foods are high in antioxidants, especially vitamin C, and getting more vitamin C is simple because yellow fruits and vegetables are easy to find in the summer months.

To keep your teeth and gums healthy, help heal cuts, prevent inflammation and improve blood circulation grab a yellow fruit or veggie. Vitamin C can be found in lemons, yellow peppers, corn, summer squash, yellow figs, pears and kiwi to help prevent heart disease from better circulation. Don’t forget about pineapple, yellow apples and yellow watermelon!

To oxygenate your blood, the task is to breath deeper. With a respiratory trainer, the act of training your lungs and respiratory muscles to breathe most efficiently, you can increase the oxygen in your blood by 50 percent.  Many conditions are caused by poorly oxygenated blood like dark circles under the eyes, vertigo, varicose veins, blood clots and cold feet and hands. Heart disease and memory loss are a couple of the more threatening conditions that can be avoided by choosing to eat antioxidant rich foods and increasing your blood oxygen level.  A combination of yellow power foods and proper breathing can have a tremendous effect on your respiratory health.

Breathe deep and grab yellow.

Panic attacks and Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises for panic attacks

You start to lose control of your body, your heart races, your head gets dizzy, and your palms are sweaty – yes, you are having a panic attack. Although the triggers vary greatly from person to person, the symptoms are pretty typical. This intense nervousness makes you become short of breath and even shake. You may feel like you’re having a heart attack, or going crazy – but you’re not. Panic attacks are actually fairly common, with more than six million Americans experiencing panic attacks annually. However, if they are a regular occurrence, you should talk to your doctor about panic disorder.

Did you know that a key component to avoiding and ending a panic attack is your breathing? There are breathing exercises that you can master to regain control of your body and nerves. Most breathing guides tell you to start by taking a deep breath, but at this point your lungs are full of shallow breaths that will only let you take another shallow breath. First, exhale completely. Let all of the air out of your lungs to create room for the new deep breath that you’re about to take.

Shallow breathing also creates the chest pain associated with panic attacks. It’s not your heart that is hurting, but rather the chest muscles. Shallow breathing, especially during a panic attack, also produces the feeling of hyperventilation and the dizziness that comes with it. Deep belly breathing quickly and effectively minimizes the symptoms of a panic attack. Oxygen calms the nerves and relaxes the body, physiologically solving an issue started most likely psychologically.

In order to achieve long-term results and actually decrease the occurrence of panic attacks, not just mediate them when they happen, invest in a respirator trainer, which provides the same physiological, nervous, and psychological benefits as belly breathing, and many more. The best part? Say goodbye to recurring panic attacks.

New App for Respiratory Diagnosis and Training

Not breathing properly? There’s an app for that. BreathResearch Inc. (BRI) has a staff of health practitioners, scientists, and engineers that has developed the MyBreath Lite app (with MyBreath Pro coming soon), which records, evaluates, and trains your breathing.

MyBreath Lite Smartphone App for Respiratory Diagnosis and Training

The free app is an integrated system that screens and optimizes your respiration when at rest or while exercising. To get started you just download the app on your smartphone, follow the prompts, and record your breathing for one to three minutes. The app will give you your BRI score and rate it on a scale from optimal to strained, also denoting the perceived level of stress. There are seven metrics in all, which include: rate, depth, tension, flow, variability, apnea, and cycle. You can also see your inhalation exhalation ratio that reveals if your breaths are balanced.

MyBreath then trains you with an animated guide that also sets up practice sessions and monitors yours goals. Your reward? Feeling wonderful and being healthy… and actual rewards. MyBreath offers a variety of rewards like free gift cards, coupons on healthy foods and drinks, and other discounts on retail items.

Smartphone App for Breath Training and Monitoring

Another component is the Breath Project, which is designed to help you improve your health by understanding the significance of your breathing patterns. You can sign up to receive training tips, exercise plans, updates on its system and other new technologies, and special offers.

 

Download the app and find a new way to commit to preventative health practices, or to remedy an ailment. We have long written about the health benefits of proper breathing and the detriments of shallow, ineffective breathing. The body is a unified system so weak breathing reaches beyond being a “lung problem” and makes itself known in your nervous system, brain function, heart rate, energy, and more. Monitor your breath and train your respiratory system regularly.

 

Why you can’t resist Resistance Breathing

Benefits of Resistance Breathing

If you’re looking for an exercise you can resist, Resistance Breathing is just the thing.

WHO

Whether you’re an athlete, a senior, or someone who suffers from a breathing disorder, millions of people regularly practice Resistance Breathing techniques.

WHY

Resistance Breathing can offer a bounty of benefits:

1. It strengthens the muscles to improve respiratory function with greater lung capacity and oxygen efficiency.

2. It increases energy.

3. It enhances mental focus.

4. It can help reduce stress.

5. It is an integral part of the things you want to try—be it yoga, tai chi, karate, running, rowing, cycling, and especially swimming since it will help you hold your breath for a longer period of time.

WHEN

Only after you check with your physician to see if Resistance Breathing is right for you, will you be ready to begin this empowering breathing technique.

HOW

Purse the lips; place the tip of the tongue against the inside of the upper teeth; hiss through clenched teeth; and tighten the throat muscles. While it’s important to see how quickly you can inhale and exhale fully, it’s even more important that you don’t hyperventilate.  Also, don’t just raise your shoulders and chest, let your abdomen fully expand as you breathe in.

WHAT

If you’re having trouble visualizing or mastering Resistance Breathing, you may want to try a respiratory trainer. Breathslim® is a health and wellness tool that employs the concept of resistance breathing via metered aero-dynamic resistance during 20-minute exercises that should be done everyday—or better yet, every night to ensure a sound sleep and a sound lifestyle.

Breathing Exercises and Parkinson’s Disease

Breathing exercises for Parkinson’s disease

Tremors, shuffling, and being cold are typical symptoms for those diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Another common, though overlooked side effect, is problematic breathing which can lead to difficulty swallowing, becoming stressed out, being tired, and getting chest infections such as pneumonia. That’s why breathing exercises are particularly important for people suffering from this chronic, degenerative disease.

If low blood pressure is not an issue, Pranayama breathing techniques are ideal since they can improve autonomic functions, reduce stress, clear the mind and enhance will power. Just sit up straight, inhale slowly through the nose until the abdomen slightly puffs out. Count to five, hold breath for a second and then slowly exhale. Repeat three times.

Another breathing exercise that can be done while sitting requires breathers to put their hands on their lap. Similar to the previous exercise, breathe in slowly through the nose and fill the lungs with air. But this time let the hands rise from the thighs. Hold the breath for a moment like before, then exhale slowly through the mouth. And repeat.

If sitting is not an option, one can breathe deeply by laying down on the back and placing one hand on the abdomen and another on the chest. Inhale slowly through the nose and exhale through the mouth while feeling the abdomen rise and fall as the lungs fill up with air and empty themselves.

Of course those with PD aren’t the only ones in need of breathing exercises. A good way for their caregivers and helpers to get some help is to set aside 20 minutes a day for breathing exercises with a breathing trainer such as a Breathslim® device which can improve lung capacity, oxygenate the body, elevate energy, and help to get relief from stress.

Athletes, Increase Your Endurance!

How athletes can increase endurance

Runners, bikers and swimmers – surely you have noticed when you are running harder, or for an extended period of time, your leg muscles become fatigued. However, it’s not necessarily your leg muscles that are the first to become strained. When you run, bike and swim, it is more likely that your respiratory muscles are the first to become tired. It is important to remember that respiratory muscles are just as susceptible to overexertion as your body’s other muscles.

While you’re running and you feel your legs become fatigued, this is because the nervous system has redirected oxygen delivery to your respiratory muscles to keep them going and to not allow them to become fatigued to a dangerous extent. When your limb muscles do not have enough oxygen, they become tired and start to feel limp and heavy.

To increase your respiratory muscle endurance, you can train the muscles with deeper breathing to strengthen them. They can be trained separately from the rest of your body. Using a respiratory trainer like Breathslim, you’ll use your respiratory muscles at a higher capacity, sometimes even more than when you’re actually running, biking or swimming. Without the rest of your body needing excessive oxygen, the tool helps strengthen in the chest cavity.

With stronger respiratory muscles, your endurance and athletic performance will take off.

High Altitudes. High Risk.

Breathing at high altitudes

If you want to visit the mountains of, say, Colorado for a hiking trip, the altitude’s affect on your body is a necessary consideration. Though most of the Western part of the United States is above sea level, in the mountains you may experience what is considered high altitude, higher than 5,000 feet, or very high altitude above, which is 11,500 feet above sea level. At these levels, noticeable changes will take place in the body.

The air pressure is the same at sea level as at high altitudes, but the oxygen molecules are more dispersed in the air the higher you ascend so there is less oxygen taken in on each breath. Your body will start to create more red blood cells because they are the cells that carry oxygen throughout the blood. Visitors to high altitudes often develop AMS, an acute mountain sickness that can be avoided and usually goes away within a couple of days. Symptoms can include nausea, headache, trouble sleeping and breathing faster and deeper to try to pull in more oxygen. Two other conditions that can strike anyone at a high altitude whether fit or unfit is called high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) and high altitude cerebral edema (HACE). These conditions can be life threatening.

There are ways to enjoy the beauty of the mountains while doing your best to avoid becoming ill. There is a saying, “Climb high, sleep low.” Go to a lower altitude to sleep to avoid oxygen loss. Next, drink up! Staying hydrated is very important. At higher altitudes your body loses fluids faster because of the decreased humidity and increased urination. The body will make up for fluid loss by storing water and sodium which can result in fluid entering the body tissue and cause swelling of the feet, hands and face. Avoid drinking alcohol and caffeinated drinks that dehydrate the body. Nausea is common at high altitudes, but REI says that eating can actually reverse those green feelings. If you are to experience nausea, headache, feeling disoriented, dizzy or develop a persistent cough, descend immediately to a lower altitude.

Breathing deeply to get more oxygen into the blood on each breath will reduce the pressure on your body to compensate for the lack of oxygen at high altitudes. Try using a respiratory trainer. Breathslim will help you take in more oxygen on each breath, something that our bodies desperately need when up in the mountains.

Always remain observant of how your body is responding to altitude changes. Breathing with Breathslim will deliver more oxygen to the blood, but altitude sickness can still occur.