We breathe in, we breathe out. Again and again without thinking but what does breathing have to do with your core? A few weeks ago we did a blog about core and some simple exercises to start strengthening your core (Exercise of the Week-Core Part 1). In this week’s blog we are going to talk about the most important thing to do when working on your core. Do you know what it is? It is breathing correctly.
Breathing is so important. Yes, we need it to be live, to get oxygen to your blood, brain and body. But are you breathing the correct and proper way? Many people can talk to you about breathing, like gyms and personal trainers, medical doctors, yoga instructors, chiropractors, etc., but are they doing it right? You want to make sure they are doing it right because we have found that some do not know or do not talk about it.
Respiration is the functional ability of the body that can be interfered with by joint, muscle, or myofascial dysfunctions which can lead to faulty patterns and muscle imbalances. When you have a faulty breathing pattern, your body will recruit muscles that shouldn’t be used for breathing to compensate for the weak muscles from bad posture, stress, or trauma. When breathing correctly, the diaphragm should move downward pushing the contents of the abdominal cavity toward the pelvis, which will cause a protrusion of your belly to make more room for your lower lungs. This will also cause the expansion and elevation of the rib cage to increase the space available.
The faulty patterns occur when the diaphragm gets weak, leading to improper expansion of the abdomen and rib cage. Some of the faulty patterns include expansion of the upper rib cage, which is something we do not want to see and paradoxical breathing, where the abdomen and chest do the opposite of each other. There are different scenarios where the chest may rise before the abdomen or viceversa.
Try this simple exercise to help correct and implement a good breathing form is mental imaging and deep breathing.
For this exercise, you are sitting upright with good posture, head up with shoulders back and down.
Place hands under rib cage at the apex of your sternum. Imagine a balloon in your belly, right beneath your hands. Take a long and slightly deep breath, in through your nose and begin filling the imaginary balloon. Try not to hear your breath through your nose.
Fill your belly first, having it rise, followed by a slow rising and filling of your chest. Your shoulders should not rise up and there should be a expansion of your lower chest.
Count to 4 and then exhale with a 4 count also. When exhaling through your nose, allow your chest to deflate, followed by your belly.
Allow the breath to exhale and draw abdominal muscles to tighten and exhale all the air. Repeat this exercise a few times to help with relaxation and to help establish a good breathing technique.
To help correct these faulty patterns, make sure you go to the proper individual who know what to look for. Looking at your posture, inspecting your breathing techniques and looking at what joints or muscles may need attention from the faulty pattern are just somethings that need to be looked at when correcting a faulty breathing pattern. We look at all of these during a visit to our office.
With the right breathing, core exercises make you stronger with no injury or muscle imbalances. If any questions, please contact us at Fletcher Chiropractic or a local health care professional.