Shortness of breath, also called dyspnea, can be very disconcerting. It can happen for a number of reasons, but one way to help improve dyspnea is to improve your lung capacity. Improving your lung capacity has benefits beyond just better breathing. Improved lung capacity can increase your exercise tolerance, increase the oxygenation of your blood, and help you stay more alert. There are a number of reasons why you might have diminished lung capacity, from COPD to allergies. These breathing exercises can help.
In this exercise, focus on emptying your lungs as much as possible by blowing the air out forcefully. It may help to bend over as you blow. Once you’ve emptied your lungs of as much air as possible, slowly breathe in (standing upright if you’ve bent over to exhale) until you cannot take in any more air. To take in more air, raise your arms over your head as you breathe in. Hold your breath for 20 seconds, then repeat.
Rib Cage Stretch
Stand and take in a breath. As you fill your lungs to capacity, lean back slightly and push your rib cage forward. Put your arms behind you with your hands on your lower back and extend the stretch as much as you can. Exhale thoroughly and repeat.
Lie flat on your back and place your hands on your stomach. Breathe in as deeply as possible through your nose and focus on expanding your diaphragm with each breath. Hold the breath as you count to ten. Blow air out forcefully through your mouth until no more air will come out. Then repeat.
There are many things that can contribute to difficulty breathing and it’s critical that you seek an evaluation from an experienced pulmonologist and breathing specialist to get to the bottom of your particular symptoms. Whether your shortness of breath just came on suddenly or it has been an ongoing problem, contact our office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Bowen as soon as possible. We can provide effective and long-term shortness of breath treatment.