Shortness Of Breath

Written by James Lyons
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As an athlete, I have experienced shortness of breath on a number of occasions. The first time I remember experiencing shortness of breath was during a soccer game at the age of five. I was streaking down the sideline weaving in and out of opposing players, making my way towards the goal. Parents were screaming on both sidelines. I eventually scored a goal and my parents were so excited, they nearly experienced shortness of breath.

Right after scoring the goal, I had trouble regaining my breath. I started taking quick, short, shallow breaths with my chest to try and refill my body with air. Unable to "get my air back," I eventually fainted. The next thing I remember is looking up at a sea of concerned faces. My father pushed everyone out of the way to see if his son had regained consciousness.

We've Trained Ourselves to Breathe Incorrectly

I later went to the doctor and she gave me a clean bill of health. At the time, she told my parents that I had overexerted myself. She was correct. . .for the most part. I had overexerted myself given the fact that I had no idea how to breathe properly. Had I continued breathing the way I was born to breathe, I would have been fine. However, my parents had conditioned me to tighten my belt, suck in my stomach, stick out my chest and breathe from my chest.

When you are born, your breathing is naturally proper. If you have kids, you certainly know that babies can yell and scream for hours and hours without losing their voices. They are using their lungs and diaphragms without conscious thought. As we get older, we condition ourselves to breathe incorrectly. We condition ourselves to breathe with our chests instead of our diaphragms.

We eventually make the whole breathing process inefficient. Healthy adults often experience shortness of breath when they walk up a set of stairs or experience high levels of stress. Their breathing is almost always shallow and coming from the chest wall.

Just Breathe

There is a muscle system that surrounds your lungs called the diaphragm. The diaphragm is attached to your lower ribs on the sides, the bottom, and the back. The diaphragm is your body's inhalation device. When you inhale, the diaphragm lowers shifting the stomach and intestines. When you exhale, the diaphragm helps to monitor the abdominal muscles, which control how rapidly a breath is exhaled.

Shortness of breath can mean hundreds of different things. It could mean you have asthma. It could mean you have some sort of anxiety or panic disorder. It could mean you have bronchitis or some type of respiratory infection. You might be having an allergic reaction. The important thing to know is that proper breathing during your daily life can prevent all ailments that can create shortness of breath.

Whether you have breathing problems or not, you need to learn how to properly breathe and you need to integrate some breathing exercises into your daily routine, exercises that specifically cater to your needs. You can tailor your breathing program to your specific needs just like you can tailor a weight-training program or a weight loss program. How you breathe will determine how long you live and how well you live.

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