Natural Breathing and Muscle Imbalances

There is a synergy between natural or diaphragmatic breathing and postural alignment, cardiovascular efficiency, joint restrictions and muscle imbalances (flexibility, tension). Oxygen is a necessary element that helps sustain our daily activities and recover from it. Unfortunately, many of us do not practice natural breathing and minimize the negative effect on our health.
Improper breathing e.g shallow, quick inhalation leads to overuse of the secondary muscles that assist in chest expansion for breathing. Overuse of these secondary muscles..e.g. chest, upper back, neck muscles leads to overdeveloped muscles and increase joint actions (shoulder,scapula). Acute improper breathing is evident with a tilted or forward leaning head, rounded shoulders and sometimes chest pains. These symptoms can be exacerbated with anxiety and stress and also lead to lower back pain due to postural misalignment.

Correct breathing begins with using the predominant muscle for this function- the diaphragm (below our rib cage). By inhaling deeply and consciously expanding our lower abdomen, we can relearn how to breath naturally. Our diaphragm and deep abdominal transversus muscle will gradually release the tension from our upper extremities and bring about better posture plus increase the consumption of rich oxygen through our cardiorespiratory system.

Breath through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Consciously taking time to practice natural/diaphragmatic breathing will provide a mental break from a sedentary work day and turn it into healthy physical/mental exercise. Correct breathing during physical activity would increase performance,improve body awareness, prevent injuries and lead to greater results. This is especially true for strength and conditioning programs geared towards bodyfat reduction or sports performance.