There are three things many people think they do correctly, but don’t. These things are breathing, walking and executing a sitting or standing posture. Most people don’t give much thought to what’s happening in the body when they do any one of these things. You don’t really think about breathing. You just breathe. Unless, of course, you’re getting a medical examination and the doctor or nurse is instructing you to breathe a specific way. As you go about your everyday life, do you think about whether or not you’re breathing properly? What about walking? No two people walk in exactly the same manner. However, especially if you’re walking for cardio exercise, you want to make sure you’re doing it right. And, most people are not doing it right. Finally, how would you rate your posture on a scale of one to five, with one being terrible and five being excellent? Keep reading to learn several tips for breathing, walking and standing or sitting correctly.
Tips for breathing include learning to differentiate between diaphragm and chest movements
Before you read the rest of this post, pause for a moment, and take a few, relaxed, natural breaths in and out. Be mindful when you do this as to which part of your body is moving. Is your chest is moving out and in, or is your abdomen area (where your diaphragm is located) moving out and in? Most people breathe with their chest. But, that’s not good.
Your diaphragm should be doing the work when you are at rest, naturally breathing in and out. If you’re using your diaphragm, it will be evident by the fact that your abdomen will be moving out and in, not your chest. There are certain circumstances that merit chest-breathing, such as during advanced stages of child labor and delivery or in a running race. Normal breathing, though, shouldn’t involve your chest.
Tips for breathing for using nose versus mouth
Just as you want avoid using your chest when breathing properly is your goal, so too do you want avoid using your mouth. Upon both inhale and exhale breaths, you should use your nose. There are several benefits to nose breathing versus mouth breathing. Tiny nasal hairs have an important job to do when you breathe. They filter out pollen, dust and other debris, which could cause health problems if you ingest them. You’re much likelier to get allergens and other matter into your lungs if you breathe with your mouth.
Most people don’t walk right
The next time you take a brisk walk for exercise, pay attention to your body’s movements. Each stride should take place with a rolling action of heel to toe on your lead foot. This is quickly followed by a heel-to-toe movement of your weight-bearing foot. Alongside these foot strokes on the ground, a rotation of hip and flexion of knee and ankle is taking place. Your strides should fall into a nice rhythm, heel-toe, heel-toe.
At the same time, your arms should swing reciprocally. This means if your left heel is striking the ground in front of your body, your right arm should be extending. Your left arm should be slightly behind your body. A balanced swinging of your arms helps with both momentum and balance. Each full stride and arm-swing should take approximately one second to complete.
Surprisingly, the way you tie your shoes has a lot to do with walking correctly! If you want to learn something uber interesting, do a bit of research about how changing the way you tie your shoes can affect your gait AND health. Do you know there are certain ways to tie shoes to avoid heel blisters? There are also specific tying methods that can help alleviate pain for those who have suffered spinal cord or brain injuries!
How’s your posture?
Very few people have naturally good posture. Correct posture is something you must learn and practice. Your muscles and bones won’t properly align if you have poor posture. Poor posture also increases the risk of certain adverse health conditions, such as arthritis. This is especially the case when your posture is causing too much pressure on your knees and joints. It takes more energy for your body to hold a poor posture than to stand or sit correctly.
Are you tired all the time? Poor posture might be an underlying cause of your fatigue! To discover proper sitting posture, sit at the edge of a chair and slump over. You should then sit straight up and arch the curve in your back. Stay like that for a few seconds, then relax. At this point, you should still be sitting straight but your back should no longer be arched. This is a proper sitting posture.
Your posture naturally changes between standing, sitting, driving, lifting things and lying down. It’s important to learn proper positions for each. A doctor of biomechanics at the National Institutes of Health says many people suffer misalignment due to sedentary lifestyles. The doctor says heavy use of cell phones and other hand-held electronic devices, as well as too much sitting, have also taken a toll on posture.
Live your best life and improve your health
Remember these tips for breathing, walking and posture to improve your health and prevent numerous injuries and illnesses. Improper breathing, walking, sitting, standing, lifting or lying down can result in many adverse health conditions. Learning to do these three basic things correctly can increase your energy levels and strength and can lay the groundwork for a healthier you!