Have you ever paid attention to your breathing? If you are like most people, you don’t give breathing a second thought. After all, you know you are breathing, because you are still alive. But did you know that most people spend a good portion of their lives doing shallow breathing? And that when you’re not breathing deeply, your oxygen intake is much lower?
How Does Shallow Breathing Affect the Human Body?
Breathing properly includes taking a deep breath using your diaphragm. Doing this type of breathing will allow more air to enter your lungs. That extra air will then move through the rest of your body.
Shallow breathing will have you bringing a small amount of air into your lungs. Most of the time, people will hold their breath a little before letting that small amount of air out. This type of breathing will lower your oxygen intake and cause a whole series of issues.
Many people do not understand exactly how shallow breathing can harm their body. This is why we feel it is important to bring awareness to this topic. Knowledge is key, especially when it comes to living the best life you can.
There are so many symptoms that show up when you choose shallow breathing over deep breathing. These symptoms include:
- Increased Blood Pressure — Your blood pressure will not instantly get super high. But it will start to get higher and higher, as you continue to do shallow breathing.
- Increased Heart Rate — The same thing will happen to your heart rate. As your oxygen intake decreases, your heart rate will get higher and higher.
- Reduced Physical Strength — Less oxygen in your body will make you feel weak.
- Higher Pain Levels — If your breaths are shallow, you will feel any pain in your body much more than you would if you were taking deeper breaths.
- Headaches — Headaches are a form of pain. They are also usually caused from a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream.
- Upper Back Pain and Neck Pain — You will mostly feel this pain if you sit a lot throughout the day.
- Increased Stress — Stress levels can decrease significantly if you are breathing properly. Shallow breathing will cause you to feel even more stressed, because it will feel as if you cannot catch your breath.
- Weakened Respiratory Muscles — The muscles around your lungs will get weaker and weaker with every shallow breath you take.
Things That Will Affect Your Breathing Throughout the Day
There are so many things that will affect your breathing throughout the day. One of them you will have no control over. But the others can be controlled with a few simple changes.
The thing you cannot control when it comes to your breathing is your age. There is nothing you can do about your age, no matter how much you may want to make yourself younger once again!
The things you can control include your general health, your weight, and how much you exercise. A little extra exercise each day will lower your weight and make you feel better overall.
Sitting all day can also be an issue when it comes to shallow breathing. When you sit, you automatically hunch your shoulders forward. That brings your head forward as well. This position will cause all your chest muscles to tighten. When those muscles get tight, your rib cage cannot expand, and shallow breathing is the result. Taking regular breaks to breathe properly throughout the day can be quite helpful. Changing your position so you are sitting back will be the most productive though, because it will allow you to breathe properly all day long
Two other things that can affect your breathing include pain and stress. Pain can cause all your muscles to tighten, which will affect your breathing. Stress can make it feel like you cannot breathe at all. Since you feel as if you cannot breathe, you will start taking shorter and shorter breaths.
All these things can affect your breathing and imagine what can happen if you experience many of them at the same time. This is why learning how to take deeper breaths is so important.
If you are not paying attention to your breathing, you are not going to be aware that you are doing shallow breathing every time you breathe. The first clue many people have is they will notice many of the symptoms of shallow breathing listed above. Once you notice how you are breathing every day, you can make the necessary changes needed to increase your oxygen intake.
These changes are necessary, because there are many benefits of deep diaphragmatic breathing. One of the first things you will notice is the amount of oxygen in your body. This extra oxygen will eliminate headaches, lower your heart rate, and decrease your blood pressure. You will also find that you are not in as much pain throughout the day.
Your stress levels will decrease as well, because you will be more in tune with your body. You will notice yourself tensing up much sooner than you would have in the past. As your body tenses, you will realize a few deep cleansing breaths will instantly help you relax. This will keep the tension in your body from growing until it is out of control.
Shallow breathing is something that you can control. If you haven’t been paying attention to your breathing, now is the time to make sure you are taking the deep diaphragmatic breaths your body needs. All deep breathing will increase your oxygen intake and make you feel better than you have for years. So, make some adjustments to your breathing and reap the rewards for a very long time.