Better Breathing Practices for SeniorsOctober 11, 2023
Better Breathing Practices for Seniors
There is nothing more natural than breathing than actually breathing. It is a natural bodily function that we complete all day, every day without even thinking. It isn’t until we experience an issue—even something as innocuous as catching a cold—that we realize we take our quality of breathing for granted.
Between smoking, pollutants, and chronic lung conditions, there is much we have to contest to breathe healthfully. Healthy Lung Month was developed to help recognize these conditions and encourage those of all ages to take their lung health seriously.
Quality health habits always make a world of difference, but did you know you can help promote your lung health with better breathing practices? Most individuals don’t have quality breathing habits, and for seniors, this is especially problematic. Poor breathing habits can lead to ribcage stiffness and muscle weakness, which causes shallow breaths and poor oxygen intake. Thankfully, you can improve your lung strength with these better breathing practices for seniors.
When told to take a deep breath, most individuals suck in their stomachs and raise their shoulders. This, however, is actually the opposite of what should happen. When you take a deep breath, your muscles should be totally relaxed. As you inhale, your lungs should fill with air, which should extend your diaphragm (and as a result, your stomach) outwards.
Posture is also crucial to proper breathing. When you sit or stand slouched, this collapses your lungs. As a result, you are unable to take as full of breaths. Do your best to sit or stand tall with your shoulders back when practicing your breathing techniques. Start with these two easy options.
Start by placing your hands on your stomach, then slowly inhale through your nose. As you do so, pay attention to how your belly fills with air. Then, exhale slowly, until all the air leaves your lungs. Again, pay attention to how your stomach flattens. Practice this exercise while lying down so you can feel the rise and fall of your stomach with more ease.
Pursed lip breathing
Pursed lip breathing encourages you to slow down your breath. Start by breathing in slowly through your nose. Then, purse your lips as if you are about to whistle and breathe out through this airway. Exhale about twice as long as you inhaled to have better control over your airflow. In addition to being a great breathing exercise for older adults, it is also great for reducing anxiety.
Healthy living with the help of a caregiver
Sometimes, doing everything necessary to live healthfully at home is a daunting task. Luckily, an at-home caregiver can help. With Home Care Powered by AUAF, seniors can have their necessary non-medical activities of daily living accounted for by a skilled, compassionate professional.
If you think you could benefit from the support of a caregiver, give us a call at 773-274-9262. We would be happy to discuss our program with you.
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