Increase breathing capacity

It has now become important to strengthen our respiratory system because that is a major part of our body that gets severely affected by the Covid-19 virus.

Breathing exercises are a great way to develop the lungs' capacity as they strengthen the muscles, clear secretions and supply adequate oxygen.

They also help us stay calm.

Ms Jyoti Dabas, founder and CEO at the Institute of Nutrition and Fitness Sciences in Pune, suggests five breathing exercises to do at any time of the day and in any comfortable space to de-stress and boost respiration. Inhale and exhale This helps in strengthening our lungs and improving blood flow, immunity and eliminating stress and anxiety.

Sit down in a relaxed position, take a deep breath and count your inhalation and exhalation. Ideally, your inhalation and exhalation counts should be the same. Increase the count gradually. Do this for five minutes. Belly breathing Known as belly breathing or abdominal breathing, this exercise has various benefits, such as managing irritable bowel syndrome, depression, anxiety and insomnia and increasing oxygen intake.

Lie flat on the floor or sit in a comfortable position and relax your shoulders. Put one hand below your chest - just above the stomach (this is where your diaphragm sits). Take a deep breath by expanding your diaphragm or stomach and exhale slowly. Cardiovascular exercise This increases your heart rate and forces the respiratory system to become more efficient and eventually increases the amount of oxygen you take with each breath. Its also allows your lungs to function better.

The most common cardiovascular exercises are brisk walking, spot jogging, jumping rope, jumping jacks and climbing staircase. Anulom-vilom More commonly known as alternate-nostril breathing, this exercise clears the nasal passage and improves respiratory muscle strength.

Anulom-vilom should be done on an empty stomach in the morning or evening after a long meal gap.

Sit on a chair or on the ground cross-legged. With your right thumb, close your right nostril and inhale through the left nostril. Release your right thumb. With your middle and ring finger, close your left nostril and exhale through the right nostril.

Continue the slow breathing through alternate nostrils. Do this for 10 minutes. Brahmari Derived from Sanskrit, brahmari literally means a bee. It is a humming exercise which increases nitric oxide in the body, helps ease blood flow and prevents muscles from tightening.

Sit on a chair or on the ground cross-legged. Close your ears using your thumb and place your middle and ring fingers lightly at the inner corner of your eyes. Rest your index finger above your eyebrows and little finger on your cheeks.

Take a deep breath. While exhaling, make a soft humming sound, similar to "hmmmmm". Do this for 10 minutes.

Indo-Asian News Service

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