What Are Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises don’t have to take a lot of time out of your day. It’s really just about setting aside some time to pay attention to your breathing. Here are a few ideas to get started:

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Jackson Sayers, B.Sc. (Kinesiology), discusses weight-assisted breathing drills.

Quiz: Do You Understand Breathing Exercises?

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:

Questions
True
False
1

Doing breathing exercises can improve cardiovascular strength.

Explanation:
Breathing exercises can help strengthen the cardiovascular muscles. They can also improve blood pressure and decrease your odds of having a stroke.
2

Deep breathing deactivates the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS), reducing stress.

Explanation:
The parasympathetic nervous system controls bodily functions when you're at rest. Deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, producing a calm feeling in the body and mind.
3

When we breathe, the blood cells receive oxygen.

Explanation:
When we breathe, the blood cells receive oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Our cells need a continuous supply of oxygen for the body to function.
4

Diaphragmatic breathing is also called belly breathing.

Explanation:
Diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing, can help you use your diaphragm properly. It involves fully engaging the diaphragm, stomach and abdominal muscles as you breathe.
5

Breathing exercises will make the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) worse.

Explanation:
Research shows that doing breathing exercises can help GERD patients reduce the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux. Over time, breathing exercises strengthen the diaphragm muscles around the lower esophageal sphincter, which can minimize GERD symptoms.
(Answer all questions to activate)

Debra Treloar, BSR, FCAMPT, Physiotherapist, discusses breathing & physiotherapy.

Weight Assisted Breathing Drills

This is a great breathing exercise. One of the problems we’re having in society today is our posture of our upper body is getting into a very forward, rounded position. This is really limiting our lung capacity. This is a good exercise to increase our lung capacity.

We simply put a nice weighted ball onto our stomach, and we get into the concept of how do we more that ball up and down through using our breath. So if we simply get our head into a nice little cushion, so that our body’s nice and square, and we take a big breath in, we pause, we blow it all out, and we pause again. Local Athletic Therapist 

The most important part of this exercise is the pause at the bottom and then the pause at the top, and we use our breath to move the ball up and down. So we can start with a very, very light ball, and we can take a big breath in, have a pause, blow it all out, and have a pause at the bottom.

As you get better at this drill, not only can you gravitate towards a heavier ball, but you can gravitate towards having more and more motion in it.

Presenter: Mr. Jackson Sayers, Kinesiologist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Kinesiologist

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