The Importance of Proper Breathing

Dysfunctional breathing is a very common predecessor to human movement dysfunction. It often results from breathing associated with high stress and/or anxiety. As a result of this altered breathing pattern, the following scenarios can occur:
The breathing becomes more shallow, using the secondary respiratory muscles more predominantly than the diaphragm. This shallow upper chest breathing pattern becomes a habit causing overuse and strain to the secondary respiratory muscles , the major muscles of the neck and upper trapezius muscles which are located just below the neck in the upper area of the back. It is also the area where most people carry tension.
These muscles also play a major postural role all connecting to the cervical and cranial parts of the body. Their excessive tension often result in headaches, lightheadedness and dizziness.
Short shallow breathes can lead to altered carbon dioxide/oxygen blood content that stimulates various sensors. This can lead to feelings of anxiety which continues the excessive breathing. Inadequate oxygen creates metabolic waste within muscles which can cause fatigued, stiff muscles.
Inadequate joint motion of the spine and rib cage, due to improper breathing, causes joints to become restricted and stiff.
All of these situations can lead to decreased functional capacity that may result in headaches, feelings of anxiety, fatigue, poor sleep patterns, as well as poor circulation. For example, when performing a strength training exercise such as a bicep curl or chest press you must coordinate the breathing with the movement by inhaling on the eccentric (or negative) part of the movement and exhaling on the concentric (or positive) part of the movement. Concentric is the contraction of the muscle and Eccentric is the lengthening of the muscle. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale blowing the air out through your mouth making a hissing like sound through your teeth. Use the diaphragm to breathe deeply. So therefore, when your trainer is instructing you to breathe and breathe properly during your workout or stretching, there is a good reason for that. You will be amazed at how much better you feel even after a physically challenging workout.

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