Breathe in slowly through your nose for a count of three, allowing your belly to fill up with air. Now, exhale through your mouth, drawing your breath out for another three seconds.
You’ve just taken a deep breath. Not a big deal, right? What you might not realize, though, is that deep breathing and other types of breathing exercises can be extremely beneficial to your overall health and wellness. In fact, there are a few surprising benefits of breathing exercises that might make you want to work deep breathing into your daily routine.
Lower Blood Pressure
If you experience high blood pressure, deep breathing exercises may be able to help. This is especially true if your elevated blood pressure seems to stem from anxiety. In a 2019 study in Complimentary Therapy Medicine, researchers discovered that participants who participated in breathing exercises were able to slightly reduce their blood pressure. While you should always consult with your doctor to figure out the best treatment for your high blood pressure, engaging in daily deep breathing exercises may be able to help.
Relief From Headaches
If you suffer from chronic headaches or migraines, you should certainly consult with your physician. However, if your headaches/migraines are being caused by tension, there is a chance that deep breathing exercises could help. Specifically, breathing exercises encourage the body to relax, which causes a reduction in the muscle tension that can cause headaches in the first place.
Having digestive issues, such as ongoing constipation or diarrhea? Believe it or not, deep breathing exercises may be able to relieve some of your symptoms. That’s because when you engage in deep breathing, you are actually exercising the diaphragm. When done regularly, this can help to relieve tension within the digestive tract itself. In some cases, this can help relieve symptoms of GERD, IBS, and similar digestive conditions.
Trouble sleeping? You’re not alone. In fact, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association, 70% of adults in the United States report that they struggle to sleep at least once per month. By engaging in deep breathing exercises before bed, you can create a signal for your body and mind to calm down and relax. This can make it possible to fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep more soundly. You may not notice instant results, but if you keep up with deep breathing before bed, you will likely find success before long.
Get Started With Breathing Exercises Today
These are just a handful of some of the lesser known benefits of deep breathing and breathing exercises. The key is to find a breathing exercise that works best for your needs and to incorporate it consistently into your schedule. From there, you’ll be able to maximize the benefits. And remember, it only takes a couple minutes of your time to engage in most breathing exercises—so this is something you can do to improve your health and wellness even if you don’t have a lot of time to spare.