Be Aware Of Your Breathing To Improve HealthBreathing is one of those things that we take for granted. It’s just not something we think about. After all, you’ve been breathing for literally your entire life – by now, it’s something you’ve probably mastered, right?

Maybe not.

Mindful breathing has been used for centuries to improve both mood and health. Breathe one way, it can help you relax. Change your breathing, and you can give yourself a burst of energy. If you’re intrigued by the possibility, here’s what you need to know to get started:

If you want to relax, the key is controlled, deep breathing. It’s simple. Just follow these steps:
Exhale, emptying your lungs completely
Pause, then inhale very slowly, through your nose, counting to five slowly. When you do this, you’ll want to engage your abs on the inhale.
Hold your breath for 3-5 seconds, then slowly exhale (again, through your nose), completely emptying your lungs again.
Pause and repeat.
Do this for five to ten minutes, and you’ll find yourself in a much calmer and more relaxed state.

If your goal is to increase energy, all you have to do is place your finger over your left nostril, and breathe only through your right. Just normal breaths for three to five minutes. It sounds like a strange trick, and you might be skeptical, but it actually works!

In addition to being able to relax you or give you energy, simply by changing how you breathe, proper breathing before and during exercise can help you feel less tired immediately after, and make it less likely that you’ll suffer from sore muscles. Deep, mindful breathing before and during are critical to getting the most of your workout.

It can be hard to do, especially if you’re engaging in a fairly strenuous exercise like jogging. Many people new to jogging or running have the problem of gulping down air in quick, ragged breaths. If you watch experienced runners though, you’ll see that they are much more Zen-like, drawing deep, slow breaths that follow the rhythm of their stride. That’s what you want to work toward!