Have you ever found yourself a little out of breath?
In this HQ's tip, you will learn how you can catch your breath a little more quickly.
What is Breathlessness?
Breathlessness is a subjective experience of breathing discomfort. That is, when you feel you are breathless, you are experiencing breathlessness.
Firstly, understand that some degree of breathlessness (also known as dyspnoea or shortnessness of breath) after doing a physically demanding task is normal. This might be taking out the washing, walking up a hill or running to catch the bus. All of us have experienced our breathing feel heavier at times.
How to catch your breath faster?
Next time you feel breathlessness, do the following:
Smell the roses, and
Blow out the candles
Allow me to explain.
When we experience breathlessness, we tend to focus on taking in big gasps of air. But, breathing is a two-part process. If we do not fully exhale (breathe out) the air that is already in our lungs, we will not be able to fully inhale (breathe in) fresh air.
So the trick to catching your breath sooner is to focus on a long and slow exhale. The best way to do so is to pretend you are blowing out some candles. In fact, lots of candles.
It is important to bring your lips together and blow out as you are able to get more air out this way. If you don't believe me, try it for yourself!
Take a breath in through the nose, then fully open your mouth and exhale completely through the mouth. See how well you can empty your lungs of air. Then, take another breath in through the nose and this time blow out with your lips pursed (together). Were you able to exhale more air the second time round?
Once you have emptied your lungs of old air, it's time to take in a dose of fresh new air.
Now, close your mouth and take a deep breath through your nose. Pretend you are smelling the first rose of the season. Breathe in as deeply as you can but remember to keep that mouth closed.
Why through the nose?
Well, for several reasons:
Nose hair filters out unwanted foreign objects
Nose hair also moistens and warms the incoming air
Deep nose breathing stimulates a particular nerve which helps us relax
It increases your chances of smelling something beautiful :)
So that's it! Next time you feel breathlessness, just remember to smell the roses and blow and the candles.
If you are experiencing unexpected breathlessness on a regular basis, or after very little physical activity, please speak to your doctor.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hassan Qureshi is the founder and owner of Holistic Exercise Physiology. He believes educating and communicating good science to the wider public is not only important but is the responsibility of every clinician. For this reason he started the Holistic blog.
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