With the holidays coming up, joy, wonder, and a little too much pie will be spread all throughout Chico. Because of all this bustling positivity in the air, it can be hard to keep up with your health. Life and the holidays can get very stressful. We want to help. We want you to take back the holidays, reduce stress, and improve your health through a series of simple tips.
Today’s topic is as easy as breathing. Literally, because it is about breathing. Done properly, slowing your breathing can shift your nervous system from fight or flight (stress) to rest and digest (calm).
It can also
- improve various lung functions
- increase the amount of oxygen the blood absorbs
- increase cardiovascular health
- decrease overall blood pressure and heart rate
- reduce neck and shoulder pain and stiffness.
It’s easy to achieve these benefits. In between carving the turkey, slicing the pie, take a moment to sit or lie down and breath slowly. You can do it. You’ll feel better. Studies have shown that the optimal breathing rate to gain all the benefits of slower breathing is 6 breaths per minute, or one full inhale/exhale every 10 seconds. That being said, as long as you relax and focus on slow breathing, you will still get benefits. Finding a rhythm and depth that is comfortable is more important than exact 10 second timing.
Since we care so much about the spine and muscles, we also recommend that you sit with good posture. To do this, keep your core engaged with your ribs more or less flat with your abdomen. Keep your shoulders back and down to avoid hunching. Lastly, breathe into your belly without letting your shoulders shrug towards your ears. Keeping track of all of these things has the added benefit of making you forget about the 34 apple pies you need to bake for Nana’s party tomorrow.
We’ve created a video for you on how to do this here. In this video, our rehab specialist Megan teaches you how to breath properly. It shows the technique laying down, but it can absolutely be done while sitting, standing, or walking as well. We also cover breathing in our foam rolling/posture workshops.
If you have any questions, please contact us at (530) 809-2695 to make an appointment by phone with Sarah our office manager, or make an appointment online at spinechico.com.