Recently people at Transitions Chiropractic have been asking about breathing. A few have complained about being mouth breathers or being unable to breathe through their nose. I think there is a flaw in what we are doing.
Most of us know that much of our strength comes from and through our core. At the most simplest level, this core is our diaphragm. However, I do not know if we appreciate just how much that diaphragm is linked to our posture, our core muscles, our anxiety levels and our ability to breathe through our noses. Whether we are talking about racing the Sparke Helmore Triathlon on the Newcastle Foreshore, working or playing with Cain in Glenrock, we need our diaphragm switched on each and every day.
The diaphragm is a massive muscle that forms the roof of our abdominal cavity and ideally moves a fair way on both inspiration and expiration. In wrestling, they say that if you cannot breathe in a particular position, then you do not own that position – the diaphragm links it all together. On correct inspiration we are said to breathe from our stomachs- the diaphragm pushes down and helps to expand our rib cage and increase pressure in our abdominal cavity- opening our lungs for maximum absorption. Then as we breathe out, the diaphragm contracts forcefully pushing down and helping to push the air out of our lungs. Conversely shallow breathing misses the belly completely, it makes a lot of noise and seems to move our chest a lot but little is actually happening. If you find yourself talking a lot of short sharp breaths, chances are you will soon run out of breath.
There is a couple of really good ways to help you train your diaphragm. I believe that first up we must recognise why it is amazing. Diaphragm breathing gets huge amounts of mobility from our rib cage and our mid spine, this helps us maintain a great upright posture while it also alters chemical messages to our brain helping us stay more relaxed and in control. Likewise, diaphragm breathing is directly linked to nasal breathing. So for anyone whose partners snore, get them to start practicing better breathing, clear their sinuses and that way you can sleep better too!
Here are 3 training techniques I would highly recommend:
Meditate– this teaches you to be conscious of what you are doing. Being aware of your own breath going in and out is the easiest, best way to train your diaphragm.
Lift something heavy– whenever you prep to lift a heavy weight or even your child ideally, you brace yourself. Part of this bracing should involve breathing in & out deeply and contracting your diaphragm before beginning your lift. Being aware of this contraction is essential to understanding your diaphragm as a working muscle.
Hold water– take a big swig of water next time you are walking up Scenic Drive and keep it in your mouth. Remember then to keep breathing. In order to keep the water in your mouth you will have to breathe both in and out through your nose. It’s weird to get used to but will absolutely fire your diaphragm.
If you are still struggling to get enough oxygen in, remember that your diaphragm attaches directly to your rib cage and your spine. If your spine is misaligned or there is increased pressure through your back, it will be much harder to fully use your diaphragm. Getting adjusted will have a big effect on your ability to get the most oxygen into your body the most efficient way possible.
Fire your diaphragm and breathe life back into your body. Not only will you get more oxygen in, you will reduce snoring, heal better, be more resilient and have a stronger core. This sounds like a pretty good outcome to me.