According to the American Lung Association, the lung of an asthma patient loses springiness over time. Therefore, their lungs aren’t capable of returning to its original wide position, which causes air to get trapped in the lungs.
As that stale air builds up, there’s less room for fresh oxygen to enter the lung. Thus, oxygen levels get lower and lower and lead to the wheezing and puffing associated with asthma.
To make up for the lessened functionality of the lungs through asthma, the body uses other muscles for breathing – such as your neck, back and chest. This, however, doesn’t assist with breathing; it only adds more stress to your body, which is not good for people living with asthma.
With the following breathing exercises, asthma patients can strengthen their lungs and, thus, improve their breathing. With enough practice and retraining of the lungs, it’s possible that these exercises can also reduce the risk of an asthma attack.
Pursed-Lip Breathing. During this exercise, the number of breaths you take is reduced which causes your airways to remain open longer, insuring more airflow in and out of the lungs. With a pursed lip, breathe into your nose and breathe out at least twice through your mouth.
Belly Breathing. This exercise requires you to pay close attention to your belly and how it fills up with air. Breathe into your nose and breathe out through you mouth at least two times. Make sure that each exhale is as long as your inhale. While doing this exercise, it’s good practice to relax your neck and shoulders. This helps with training your diaphragm to do most of the work while breathing, which builds up the strength to fill and empty your lungs.
If you begin to feel dizzy while practicing any of these exercises, stop immediately. Your body may not be used to breathing in these ways, or taking in so much air during inhaling, so take the time to rest in between repetitions. Once you feel better, try again. If the dizziness continues, you should contact your physician for help.