[ Vanessa is warming up to ready her body for the breath stretching exercises and I suppose her friend Ellie is the showcase partner! LOL ]
Living with Asthma, we need all the help we can get to 'catch our breath!' :() Vanessa's here to demo these simple but effective poses that help bring more air into our lungs! Working out as part of asthma maintenance is pretty much known, but working out our lungs is also an important part of Asthma Care!
People with lung disease already experience some degree of lung damage or decreased lung capacity, so it's important to whip those lungs in shape, or create an environment where they're as strong and functional as possible! It's a balancing act to manage all of the components of lung care but with time and patience we can do it! The lung exercises Vanessa demonstrates are safe for those with Asthma, COPD, Mesothelioma and PCD; although you should check with your healthcare provider before beginning these to determine if your health is stable enough to perform these exercises.
[ Looks like Vanessa's losing patience with her pal Ellie, she's trying to concentrate! :() ]
The best part of these lung workouts is that they are simple, and can be done anytime! The first stretch as Vanessa shows us is called the Rib Stretch. Start standing upright, legs slightly apart and bend back creating a light arch in the back [you don't have to perform back bends LOL! ]. As you arch your back, Exhale letting all of the breath out of your lungs, then Breathe in slowly to fill the lungs with air as much as you can manage. [ remember while still bent back ] Hold that breath for 10 seconds then slowly exhale. So: Bend back * Exhale * Inhale as much as possible * Hold for 10 sec * Slowly Exhale got it?! :()
[ Ellie just can't resist photo bombing Vanessa's demo! ]
The next stretch will be the Standing Chest Expansion, it's good to do after the rib stretch. Like Vanessa, stand feet about hip width apart arms facing downward at your sides, and knees slightly bent.
[ :() Roomate drama! ]
Slowly Inhale (While) raising your arms above your head so that your bicep areas are parallel with your ears, the palms of your hands facing each other. Exhale (While) lowering your arms back to the starting position. Simply repeat as needed. It's that simple. Breathe while Arms raised * Exhale while arms are being lowered! This stretch helps balance right and left lung breathing!!
Lastly, we have Diaphragmatic Breathing, a calmer exercise and a good one to do after the other two. It takes a little work to learn to use our diaphragm correctly and this breath exercise is a good habit for everyone to get into. Our breaths work to strengthen the diaphragm which takes away some of the 'workload' of the act of breathing through slowing our breathing rate, thus, decreasing the demand of oxygen which causes us to use less energy to breathe! Still with me? :()
On a flat surface, lie on your back. Place a pillow under your knees and behind your head to support the neck and legs. Place a hand on your Upper Chest area and the other right below your Rib Cage; this will make it possible to feel the diaphragm moving. Begin breathing in Slowly through your nose [ Your stomach should be expanding against your hand ], the hand on your chest should remain still. [ This is forcing you to use your diaphragm to breathe, not the shallow breathing that most of us do through our upper chest! ]
Exhale through pursed lips [ slightly closed ], while tightening the stomach muscles. It may sound a little confusing, but once you actually do it you'll get the hang of it! Repeat this exercise for 5 to 10 minutes 3 to 4 times daily. I'm still working on this last one myself! LOL
Expect to feel tired in the beginning as you gain strength, but this will take time which is why you should start slowly at first. Our diaphragms are weak as we've all evolved into shallow breathers so have patience with it's difficulty it will get easier in time! For those with decreased lung capacity, this particular exercise is especially helpful because lung diseases cause air to get trapped in the lungs which presses on the diaphragm making it hard to breathe.
So! That's it folks :) Three exercises, relatively simple, especially the first two. I find myself performing these first two before I take my asthma inhalers to prep my lungs to be better able to accept the medicine!!! Asthma Tip!!
These breath exercises added to your whole asthma health management regime, can help to create a better quality of life for all of us Heavy Breathers!
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