Baby Boomer Health Tip: Breathe for Stress Relief and Anti-Aging

Deep breathing provides the body with numerous benefits. It is a simple but very effective method of relaxation.  It is an easy stress reliever that has numerous benefits for the body, including oxygenating the blood (which ‘wakes up’ the brain), relaxing muscles and quieting the mind. It can help you reduce muscle tension and manage the effects of the fight-or-flight response on your body. This is particularly important if you need to think clearly and perform precisely when you are under pressure.

Breathing exercises are especially helpful because you can do them anywhere, and they work quickly so you can de-stress in a flash.

As we go through life we pick up bad breathing habits. Being in a hurry most of the time, the increased stress of modern living and negative emotional states (anger, excitement, frustration) all impact the way we breathe, causing it to be shallow and fast. We become more fatigued since oxygen is important to energy production and our immune system is impaired so that we are more susceptible to disease.  Shallow breathing has also been linked to dizziness, fatigue, stomach problems, gas, sleep disorders, anxiety, muscle cramps, and chest pain

Degenerative diseases and premature aging start with low oxygen levels so start today with this simple exercise.
 
Place a hand on your abdomen, below your navel. Inhale slowly and deeply, feeling your abdomen rise beneath your hand as you fill with air. Exhale slowly, feeling your hand sink as you use your diaphragm to push the air out. Continue to breathe this way, focusing on using your diaphragm instead of your chest to move the air in and out of your body.  Remember to breathe through your nose, not your mouth.

Now take a number of deep breaths and relax your body further with each breath.  That’s all there is to it!

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