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Techniques That Can Help Relieve Shortness of Breath

 Everyone has experienced shortness of breath at least once in their life, be it after intensive exercise, due to anxiety or as a result of a health condition. Many otherwise healthy people can sometimes experience shortness of breath after climbing stairs, running or other unusually-demanding physical activities.
In the end, breathlessness can catch you by surprise anywhere anytime. Luckily, there are things you can do to relieve dyspnea (the scientific term for shortness of breath). Here are 4 effective relief techniques that can help you get rid of this annoying symptom fast. And the best thing about them is - no special equipment needed.

1. Pursed Lip Breathing

shortness of breath exercises Pursed Lip Breathing

This simple method will let you slow down your breathing when you’re feeling short of breath, which will help you start breathing more deeply and effectively. You can do it anywhere anytime, and it is particularly effective at boosting the circulation of air in your lungs, which makes it especially helpful after strenuous activities, be it lifting things, climbing stairs or bending forward.

Here’s how you can do this exercise:

Step 1. Relax your neck and shoulders.
Step 2. Counting to 2, slowly and steadily breathe in through your nostrils, mouth closed.
Step 3. Round your lips, as if you’re about to blow on a dandelion.
Step 4. Counting to 4, slowly breathe out while maintaining the shape of the lips. Repeat for at least 10 rounds.

2. Leaning Forward with the Support of a Table

This technique is optimal for when you’re at home. You will need a table, a chair and a pillow to do it. It’s very simple and can really soothe your lungs and calm your breath and heartbeat. It will also relax your body, which yields in an overall calming effect.

This is how you do it:

Step 1. Sit on a chair facing a table, keep your feet on the floor. Place a pillow on the table in front of you.
Step 2. Lean with your chest forward. Place your arms on the table and rest your head on the pillow. You can slowly move your head from side to side, as if shaking it to say “no”, but slower. This tilt will massage your forehead and let your neck relax, opening up the airways even more.
Breathe as slowly as you can and try to relax. Stay in this position as long as you need, but no less than 5 minutes.

3. Standing With a Supported Back

shortness of breath exercises stand supported back

If you got caught by surprise by a sudden attack of breathlessness, and you have nothing around you, but a wall, do not fear. A wall will do, as simply standing with the support of any vertical object can help you relax your airways as well.

Instructions:

Step 1. Stand with your back next to a wall, resting your lower, upper back and hips against the wall.
Step 2. With your feet about shoulder width apart, place your hands on the thighs, tilting your head a tiny bit forward. Try to relax and breathe as slowly as you can.
Step 3. Dangle and move your arms slowly in front of you. This will relax your upper body and may help normalize your breathing faster.

4. Diaphragm Breathing

When your lungs are stressed and compressed, you’re trying to catch your breath, but you can’t seem to normalize your breathing pattern, try diaphragm breathing. It will help you switch gears and breathe normally faster. It’s best to do this exercise at home.
shortness of breath exercises Diaphragm Breathing

Here’s how you do it:

Step 1. Sit on a chair with your knees bent comfortably and upper body relaxed.
Step 2. Put one hand on your belly and breathe in through the nose. Pay attention to how you belly is inflating and deflating as you breathe.
Step 3. On an exhale, activate your abdominal muscles and notice how your belly is flatter. Round your lips and breathe out through your mouth.

Tip: You should focus on the exhale more than on the inhale. Do this exercise for 5 minutes.

Extra! Sleep In a Comfortable and Supported Position

It is not uncommon for people to experience shortness of breath during sleep. It can even wake you up during the night, which is not only annoying, but also terribly disruptive for your sleep. Both of the following sleeping positions will help your airways relax, which will assist breathing.

Position 1. Sleep on your side, placing a pillow or blanket between your legs and keep the head elevated by a pillow just enough to maintain a straight spine from the lower back to the neck.

Position 2. Lie down on your back. Place a pillow under your knees, to keep them slightly bent. Rest your head on another pillow, so that it won’t strain your neck.

If you persist waking up during the night because you experience breathlessness, we highly recommend you to visit a doctor, as you might be suffering from sleep apnea. In general, dyspnea can be a symptom of a serious underlying condition, so if you experience it often, consider a consultation with a doctor.

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