Diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing or abdominal breathing, is a deep breathing technique that has been linked to many health benefits, including weight loss. While the idea of shedding some pounds, especially around the waist, might bring to sweating through a daily vigorous exercise or eating a calorie-restricted diet, it seems deep breathing can do the job.
The reality is that exercising every single day may not be convenient for most people trying to lose weight. Getting fit certainly takes a lot of effort and dedication, yet we can’t deny the fact that exercising isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But there seems to be no easy miracle way to get a flat, perfectly toned stomach than breathing with your belly.
What is belly breathing? Can it really help you lose weight and abdominal fat?
Basically, belly breathing is one of the most basic pranayama that uses your diaphragm, a dome-shaped muscle that sits at the base of the chest and separates the abdominal cavities from the thoracic (chest). The diaphragm contracts and flattens when you inhale. It relaxes and moves upwards driving air out of your lungs through the breath when you exhale. It is claimed that this technique of breathing can boost your metabolism and help burn body fat, particularly on top of the abdominal muscles in addition to several other remarkable benefits.
Experts claim that mindful breathing can definitely aid a weight loss programme. It has been shown that deep breathing techniques done in gentle or restorative yoga activate the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which may aid weight loss. The parasympathetic nervous system is a part of the autonomic nervous system which fights stress, calming your mind and balancing your body. Diaphragmatic breathing gently stretches and tones the core muscles, which include the abdominals, erector back muscles, diaphragm, and pelvic floor.
Surprisingly, studies show that deep belly breathing can help improve blood sugar control, which may be beneficial for people with diabetes. This is due to the fact that diaphragmatic breathing has a positive effect on the nervous system, which has a direct role in your physical response to stress – increased stress has been linked to a spike in glucose levels.
Also, research suggests that breathing exercises may be particularly beneficial for people with lung conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, as it helps the respiratory system to work efficiently.
How to do belly breathing
To do this breathing exercise:
==> Find a quiet place to sit or lie comfortably using a mat.
==> Place your one hand on your upper chest and the other on your belly to help you better control and understand your breathing.
==> Slowly breathe in through your nose so that your stomach expand under your hand.
==> Breathe out slowly through your slightly pursed lips so that your stomach falls under your hands. Make sure the hand on your chest continues to remain still.
Generally, the sequence of this breathing exercise is done three times, if you’re a beginner. However, most people may do this for 5-10 minutes one to four times a day.
While the belly breathing technique is considered a natural way to breathe, offering many benefits, you should speak with your doctor or healthcare provider before trying this or any type of breathing exercise, especially if you have a condition like COPD or asthma. Perhaps, exercising regularly and taking care of what you eat can help you lose or maintain weight.