Amidst the ‘self care’ and wellness buzz you have most likely seen recommendations for ‘deep breathing’ and you may have thought to yourself ‘what are the benefits of deep breathing exercises?’
While we take numerous breaths every single day, deep breathing is different. Deep breathing contracts the diaphragm and expands the belly, while standard ‘chest breathing’ is quite shallow. For this reason, deep breathing is also commonly called ‘belly breathing’.
Now let’s go on to learn 5 health benefits of deep breathing exercises.
Health benefits of deep breathing
1. Deep breathing boosts the immune system
The state of your immune system is vital to your health, as it defends your system from infections and keeps you healthy. When you practice deep breathing, you release toxins and give your immune system a boost.
2. Deep breathing increases energy
Shallow chest breathing is actually more difficult on the body as it prevents the body from getting enough oxygen. When you take a deep breath, more oxygen is brought to your cells and overall gives your body an energy boost.
3. Deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system
The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for ‘rest-and-relax’, while the sympathetic nervous system is responsible for ‘flight-or-flight’. When you practice deep breathing, it activates the parasympathetic nervous system and helps to bring you to a relaxed state, lowering the effects of cortisol in the meantime.
While the sympathetic nervous system is necessary, especially in times of real danger, but regularly having this system activated can cause health problems and you can’t decipher when there is a real threat. So shifting into ‘parasympathetic mode’ is necessary and deep breathing can help you reach this state of calm.
4. Deep breathing benefits your mental state
Deep breathing triggers the release of endorphins, which promote feelings of ‘well-being’, and reduces stress. These are two significant deep breathing benefits that impact your mental state. It also helps to clear feelings of unease.
5. Deep breathing releases muscle tension
When you are stressed or experiencing something that causes your body to tense up, this can result in rather uncomfortable muscle tension. Deep breathing brings our body back to center and allows our muscle tissues to release contractions they have responded with. Breathing into the tension and into any associated pain can significantly ease both.
Deep breathing for health and overall wellness is a wonderful habit to incorporate into day-to-day life.