Can breathing exercises help with COVID-19?

As we have learned during these challenging times, COVID-19 can present differently in different people. Some who get sick from this viral infection often experience a restriction of the respiratory tract which obstructs the air flow into the lungs. Certainly, this poses a greater problem for those suffering from a pre-existing condition such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or severe asthma, as these conditions already cause chronic inflammation of the lungs and airways. 

Deep breathing exercises can help clear the lungs and strengthen lung function, especially beneficial for anyone with this underlying condition, and also very helpful for anyone recovering from the COVID-19 virus. 

Here are a few simple breathwork practices that can help to increase lung capacity, strengthen the diaphragm (a major respiratory muscle located under the lungs), and even help you feel calmer in coping with stress. These breathwork practices can be done seated tall in good posture, or lying down. 

DIAPHRAGMATIC BREATHING: 1. Inhale slowly through your nose imagining filling your deep belly, lungs, and filling all the way up to your throat. Your belly and ribs will expand. 2. Exhale slowly through pursed lips as if you are flickering the flame of a candle, empty all the breath out. Feel your belly and ribs gently deflate. 

BOX BREATHING 1. Inhale slowly for a count of 4, hold the breath for a count of 4, exhale slowly through pursed lips for a count of 4, and hold on empty for a count of 4. 2. Do this at a comfortable pace, thinking of filling and emptying the body as in Diaphragmatic Breathing. 

You can repeat both of these gentle breath practices four to five sets, several times per day. 

Retraining your body to breath deeply will help to support healing from the coronavirus and reduce stress at the same time. So relax, take a deep breath and know that you are tapping into an internal mechanism for better health and fitness. It's simple, it's free, and it's always there! For more information on how our wellness professionals can help you achieve your health and fitness goals, contact Susan Donovan.

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