Breathe Well, Exercise Well for Seniors

April 1, 2017
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With the increasing awareness about physical fitness among people of all ages, we have seen an increasing number of senior adults making their way into commercial gyms like Equinox. This is such a welcome trend since senior people will benefit from regular and proper exercise!

But we have also seen that many of them are struggling with their physical exercises partly because of their improper breathing habits. Keep in mind that proper breathing is a must to maximize oxygen intake and minimize physical injury, such as when lifting weights.

Here then are useful breathing exercises that will improve your breathing patterns when exercising, even in your daily activities.

Adopt the Correct Posture

Before getting into the deep breathing exercises, you must first adopt the correct posture while either standing up or sitting down. The basics of proper posture are:

  • Sit or stand with your spine in its neutral position. Neither a slouchy nor a rigid posture will improve your breathing patterns. Just maintain your spine’s natural S-shaped curve.
  • Lift your ribs while your shoulders should be back and down. Keep your neck and shoulders as relaxed as possible so that you can concentrate on your breathing instead of on the stress in these parts.  

You can sit on a chair or sit cross-legged on the floor depending on your comfort level.

Practice Breathing Exercises

Before performing the breathing exercises, you may want to become comfortable first. Think of these exercises as meditation in the sense that you must be physically and mentally aware of your inhalations and exhalations. Just breathe normally for a minute or two and then proceed to the breathing exercises.  

The breathing exercise is as follows:

  • Sit or stand with the proper posture.
  • Place your left hand on top of your belly just below your breastbone.
  • Place your right hand on top of your chest.  
  • Inhale through your nose and feel your right hand rise, a process known as chest breathing that uses the lungs’ upper lobes. Hold for a few seconds and exhale.  
  • Inhale through your nose again but feel your left hand rise, a process called abdominal breathing wherein the lungs’ lower lobes are used more. Hold for a few seconds and exhale.

Bear in mind that abdominal breathing is the best type of breathing when exercising. When you practice it regularly, you will find that it becomes almost second nature when you’re swimming, walking, or running.  You will also find that aside from exercise purposes, the deep breathing exercise will improve your respiratory health and, thus, increase your energy levels.

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