For many older adults, yoga has become not only a way to keep up with friends and expand social horizons, but also a way to keep in shape. At Home Care Assistance Columbus, we find that many of our clients enjoy at least a modified stretching routine that is based on yoga movement — and our care companions help them stay safe while doing it. These tips are one way to try deep breathing:
Take a minute to relax by focusing on your own normal breathing and clearing your mind. Sit cross-legged or lie supine with the arms and legs straightened. Inhale gently but deeply through the nose and push the air down into the abdomen. If sitting, put the arms on the knees, bend them slightly and push out the chest. Hold the breath for a moment and then pull the shoulders back whilst gently letting it go. Squeeze all the air out of the lungs by contracting the diaphragm. Repeat.
According to Livestrong.com, The aging process can keep many people from breathing correctly. As you age, the rib cage and the surrounding muscles get stiffer, making it more difficult to take deep breaths. When you can’t breathe deeply, you can’t get the proper amount of oxygen into your system. You can improve breathing and oxygen intake with specific exercises.
- Belly breath exercises: Lie down on the floor with your hands placed on your stomach directly below your rib cage. Place the tips of your middle fingers so they are touching on your stomach. Take a deep breath. If you are taking in enough air, your stomach should rise and your finger tips should separate slightly. If you are not moving your middle fingers away from each other, press down with your hands slightly. This will help you improve your lung capacity before you begin to take a deep breath again.
- Humming exercise: Sit on a chair with your hands at your side. Take a deep breath and as you expel the air, start humming a single note. As you start to tire, pull your stomach muscles in as long as possible and keep humming as long as possible. This will help you get the most air in your lungs and oxygen in your bloodstream.
- Abdominal assist breathing: Lie on the floor and put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Take a deep breath. This should allow the hand on your stomach to rise higher than the one on your chest. Exhale and then take deep breath in through your nose. Hold your breath for a count of 5 seconds. Start exhaling one second later. After all the breath is gone, contract your stomach muscles. Exhaling fully is what will give you the capacity to breathe in to full capacity. And don’t forget to start breathing again!