Running Tip #3- Breathing Techniques to help Recovery

This article follows on from our article about why Recovery is important (rphysio.com/blog/2018/4/5/running-tip-2-recovery). We will give you 2 simple breathing drills that directly affect your system and gets you into Rest and Digest mode. 

Breathing is underrated!

We all know that breathing is pretty important! However, how we breathe directly affects our Fight or Flight/Rest and Digest response. 

Breathing in the Fight or Flight state- (a few key points)

  • Breathing rate increases
  • You exhale too much CO2. 
  • You actually need to retain some CO2, when you don't your nervous system excites (Fight or Flight)
  • Breathing becomes shallow and you over use the neck muscles to pull air up into upper chest
  • Exhalation becomes passive and the rate of inhalation increases
  • This results in you being hyperinflated
  • Long term hyperinflation causes muscle tension, anxiety, fatigue, burnout, pain and more
  Ever noticed the bottom of your ribs sticking when lying down? This picture shows hyperinflation. Hyperinflation results in air getting trapped in the body. This is like having a balloon inside you. This can limit our ability to efficiently bend, reach, twist and run. It increases rigidity. 

Ever noticed the bottom of your ribs sticking when lying down? This picture shows hyperinflation. Hyperinflation results in air getting trapped in the body. This is like having a balloon inside you. This can limit our ability to efficiently bend, reach, twist and run. It increases rigidity. 

The Switch and the Exhale

Effective breathing triggers your off switch (read the Recovery article to learn about the switch). More specifically, effective exhalation triggers your off switch. When you get out of a hyperinflated state, you also allow the body to get out of a Fight or Flight state. 

Techniques

The Exhale is very important. It drives the bottom of the ribs down. This allows the inhale to start in the correct position. Think of the exhale as the start of the breath cycle.

  1. Exhalation
  • Lie on your back with your knees bent
  • Place your hands on the bottom of your ribs and breathe out of your mouth
  • Try and make your exhalation last for 8 seconds, and focus on the bottom of your ribs dropping down/descending
  • On inhalation, breathe through your nose filling up your belly and then the chest wall. Make sure you do not use your neck to pull air up. Make the inhalation last for 4 seconds
  • After the next exhalation (8 seconds), Pause at the end for 4 seconds before the next inhale. 
  • Repeat. 

2) The principles of the above exercise can be applied to any position. Here is a simple exercise you can do when sitting during the day.

  • Place the tongue behind your upper teeth.
  • Focus on the exhalation of your breathe cycle. Work on the ability to make this longer. 
  • Focus on your ability to hold the pause after the exhalation. (like the above exercise)
  • The better you get at the exhale and pause, the easier you will find getting out of hyperinflation and therefore get into Rest and Digest. 

There are many other more advanced breathing exercises. We will include some in our Exercise of the Week Tips in the coming months.

Long standing pain or tightness? Sometimes recurrent injuries or long standing pain can be caused by us being stuck in a hyperinflated state. Hyperinflation causes back tightness, neck tightness and restricts our ability to move. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with any pain or injury, take advantage of our free, no obligation 15 minute Physio or Sports Injury consultations.

Call us on 07842911104