Everyone is aware that breathing is necessary for survival. Day in and day out, we rely on our lungs to take in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. This process is crucial in helping us perform day-to-day events.
While breathing is mainly an autonomic function, engaging in it deeply can also come with profound benefits to our overall health and well-being.
Aside from its vital role of delivering oxygen into our body, breathing is the body’s way of regulating stress and anxiety. When we are stressed or anxious, our breathing becomes more shallow and rapid. This causes the body to go into “fight-or-flight” mode, releasing stress hormones like cortisol into the bloodstream.
Over time, chronic stress and anxiety can lead to serious health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, and depression. That’s why it’s so important to learn how to employ the right breathing techniques when you’re feeling stressed or anxious.
Fortunately, many different breathing exercises can help relieve stress and anxiety. Here are a few of the best breathing exercises men can try to keep their bodies in shape!
1. Abdominal Breathing
The American Institute of Stress reported that just 20 to 30 minutes of abdominal breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing, can reduce stress and anxiety in males. This process is also known to help improve sleep quality.
Abdominal breathing is a simple yet effective way to calm the body and mind. To do this exercise, follow these steps:
- Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Lose any tension remaining in your body.
- Slowly inhale through your nose, allowing your stomach to expand. You should feel your hand holding your stomach rise and the hand holding your chest fall as you breathe in.
- Try to count to four as you inhale. Exhale slowly through your mouth, letting your stomach fall back into place. Don’t shift your hand positions.
- Repeat as many times as you deem comfortable.
You can perform this exercise in shorter durations multiple times a day. Some prefer to do 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening. But it’s ultimately up to you on how long and how often you want to perform this exercise.
2. The 4-7-8 Breathing Technique
The counts in this breathing exercise represent the number of times you should perform each segment of the technique, namely when you inhale, hold your breath, and exhale. It’s a form of rhythmic breathing, or interval-based breathing, that helps you regulate and calm your mood.
This breathing technique works because it helps soothe the central nervous system. If you’re having difficulty falling asleep because of an active mind, this technique is also ideal and has helped patients enter a state of slumber in less than a minute.
Here’s how to perform this deep breathing exercise:
- Lay down or sit straight, depending on what’s comfortable for you.
- Place the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth throughout the exercise.
- Exhale in your mouth, making sure to expel all the air in your lungs.
- Close your mouth and inhale through your nose while counting to four in your head.
- Hold your breath for seven counts.
- Exhale through your mouth, making a “whoosh” sound as you count to eight.
- Repeat the entire sequence three to four times until you fall asleep or wish to stop.
For patients suffering from sleep conditions like sleep apnea, proper medical treatment is advised by a doctor.
3. Alternate Nostril Breathing
Also known as Nadhi Shodhana, the alternate nostril breathing exercise is said to be beneficial in restoring balance within the body. It helps lower your blood pressure and clear away feelings of worry and anxiety. It also strengthens your heartbeat and soothes your nerves, helping you enter a state of calm and serenity.
Here’s how to perform this technique:
- Sit down in a comfortable position with your spine straight.
- Set your right hand so that your pointer and middle fingers are folded into your palm, extending only your thumb, ring finger, and pinky.
- Close your eyes and do one cycle of inhaling and exhaling.
- Use your thumb to seal off your right nostril.
- Using your left nostril, take a breath.
- Using your ring finger, block off your left nostril.
- Open your right nostril and take a deep breath out.
- Use your right nostril to breathe in.
- Use your thumb to seal off your right nostril.
- Open your left nostril and breathe out through it.
- Using your left nostril, breathe in.
The idea of this breath control technique is to keep your mind focused on the act of breathing and the process of switching between nostrils, which can help prevent your mind from straying away.
4. Mindful Breathing
Mindful breathing is one of the best deep breathing techniques to achieve inner peace and calm. It’s a form of mindfulness meditation that helps you focus on the present moment.
This technique is relatively simple.
- Silently think of a calming word or phrase to yourself with each inhale and exhale, like “om”.
- Focus your attention on the deep breaths you make. If your thoughts drift off, breathe deep and recenter your focus back on your breath.
- Repeat this process as often as you like to relieve your anxiety.
Get in touch with a doctor for a proper evaluation of your general health.
5. Pursed Lip Breathing
Pursed lip breathing is one of the best relaxation techniques to help people with COPD manage their shortness of breath. But it can also be used as a stress-relieving and anxiety-reducing technique.
This breathing exercise works by slowing down your breathing rate. Experts recommend doing no more than 5 sets of this breathing exercise as any more can fatigue your respiratory tissues.
Here’s how to do it:
- Sit comfortably, keeping your neck and shoulders at ease.
- Inhale slowly for two seconds through your nostrils while keeping your mouth shut.
- For four seconds, exhale through your mouth while pouting your lips, like a kiss.
- As you exhale, keep your breathing slow and steady.
Consult a doctor for other ways to treat health issues like COPD.
Why Do Breathing Exercises?
Breathing exercises have a wide range of benefits, the most notable of which is reducing stress and anxiety.
This, in turn, can help improve other aspects of your health, including:
- Cardiovascular health
- Blood pressure
- Immune system
- Sleep patterns
- Kidney health
Contact Tampa’s Top Male Health Clinic for a Medical Consultation
If you need further medical assistance to gain the health benefits of breathing exercises, such as improved libido, contact a local doctor for a consultation.
Working with experienced medical professionals like those at Tampa male clinic Prestige Men’s Medical Center for a proper clinical evaluation leads to better outcomes for men with ED, PE, Low-T, and other sexual concerns. Give our team a call today to schedule your appointment.