Natural Breathing and Muscle Imbalances

Fitness Expert
There is a synergy between natural or diaphragmatic breathing and postural alignment, cardiovascular efficiency, joint restrictions and muscle imbalances (flexibility, tension). Oxygen is a necessary element that helps sustain our daily activities and recover from it. Unfortunately, many of us do not practice natural breathing and minimize the negative effect on our health. Improper breathing (e.g. shallow, quick inhalation) leads to overuse of the secondary muscles that assist in chest expansion for breathing. Overuse of these secondary muscles (e.g. chest, upper back, and neck muscles) leads to overdeveloped muscles and increase joint actions ( in the shoulders, and scapula). Acute improper breathing is evident with a tilted head, rounded shoulders and sometimes chest pains. These symptoms can be exacerbated with anxiety and stress and also lead to lower back pain due to postural misalignment.

Correct breathing begins with using the predominant muscle for this function: the diaphragm (located below the rib cage). By inhaling deeply and consciously expanding our lower abdomen, we can relearn how to breath naturally. Our diaphragm and deep abdominal trans versus muscle will gradually release the tension from our upper extremities and bring about better posture plus increase the consumption of rich oxygen through our cardiorespiratory system.

Breath through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Consciously taking time to practice natural and diaphragmatic breathing will provide a mental break from a sedentary work day and turn it into healthy physical, and mental exercise. Correct breathing during physical activity increases performance, improves body awareness, prevents injuries and leads to greater results. This is especially true for strength and conditioning programs geared towards body fat reduction or sports performance.

Some of the benefits you will experience are an increase in muscle aerobic stamina (conditioning/body fat reduction), a decrease in fatigue, and prevention of light-headedness, muscle imbalances and joint restrictions (overactive or deconditioned muscles).

What we teach in the gym is truly practical and applicable in everyday life. Developing proper and balanced exercise progression habits in the early stages will lead to long term results. Integrate a sensible nutrition plan, proper sleep patterns, and receive guidance from an experienced trainer and you have a plan for success.

Julio A. Salado, AFAA & NASM* C.P.T
Fitness Foundry designed for healthy living.©
Certified Personal Trainer
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