Coronavirus Breathing Exercises: 5 Breathing Exercises

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Breathing exercises can strengthen the lungs and may be beneficial for reducing the impact of COVID-19 before, during, and after it strikes.

Do these breathing exercises to boost oxygen levels and lung capacity

The SARS-COV-2 virus is known to cause the most scathing attack on the lungs and respiratory system and with rising reports of lung involvement in the early stages, many are gasping for breath with fluctuating oxygen levels. At a critical time like this, when resources run scarce, it is imperative that we do all that we can do to boost lung function naturally. Exercising, and deep breathing is something that can definitely help strengthen the lungs and restore oxygen flow.

How does deep breathing help COVID patients?

Breathing and lung-strengthening exercises, deep breathing especially can help restore diaphragm function and improve your ability to breathe, which can be obstructed if there's any inflammation, or fluid build-up in the lungs or air passage. It can also clear out mucus, restore saturation levels and cope with the infection better.


Clinical studies have also observed that for COVID patients, certain breathing techniques like pursed lip breathing can help reduce shortness of breath and reduce complications considerably.


Apart from this, deep breathing can also help alleviate stress and anxiety levels for a patient in the midst of a recovery and heal faster. Doctors now actively recommend COVID+ patients to perform yoga asanas, deep breathing exercises to promote oxygenation, strengthen lung function and be easily done by a patient under home isolation. Even at times when external oxygen support resources may be running scarce, these breathing exercises may provide temporary relief and boost oxygen levels.


Remember, while these exercises may not help you fight the virus directly, but it could make your recovery a lot more easy:

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Diaphragmatic breathing

Also known as belly breathing, doing this exercise helps improve the function of the diaphragm and get more air to the base of the lungs, facilitating easy breathing.



To do this, sit relaxed or lie down comfortably. Resting well, place the tip of the tongue behind your top front teeth. Keep your back straight and eyes closed. Attempt breathing normally and then place one hand on your chest, and one on your abdomen.


Breathe deeply through your nose, expanding your ribs and feeling your stomach expand outwards. Exhale, stretching stomach inwards. Breathe slowly and deep in a similar manner for upto 10 times.

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Pursed lip breathing

Pursed lip breathing exercises are one of the best techniques to increase oxygen intake and focus on keeping your airways open.

To try this technique, sit in a relaxed position. Now, breathe in slowly through the nose, for several counts. The mouth should remain closed. Before you exhale, purse your lips and then slowly breathe out all the air in your lungs.


The aim of pursed breathing is to try and exhale longer breath counts than you inhale. Perform this exercise several times for maximum benefits.

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Yawn to a smile

This breathing exercise facilitates opening up of the muscles in the chest, which then allow the diaphragm to fully expand and regulate oxygen flow.

To perform this exercise, start by sitting upright with your back straight. Now, stretch your arms up till the shoulders. Now, open your mouth wide as if you are trying to yawn. Doing so, bring your arms back to rest on your thighs and turn that yawn into a smile.

Pranayama

Pranayama is one of the best breathing exercises to improve lung capacity, boost immunity as well as soothe the nerves by regulating your breathing. It is ideal to have an empty stomach.

To perform pranayama, start by sitting in a cross-legged position or kneel down on the ground.With shoulders over the hips and head elevated over the shoulders, extend your body a little. Now, inhale a deep breath which stretches to the spine and then slowly exhale. Stay in this position for at least 10 breaths.

Anulom Vilom (Alternate Nostril Breathing)

Anulom Vilom helps purify toxins from the lungs, gets rid of excess fluid build-up and regulates flow of oxygenated blood in the lungs. It's also a great way to boost immunity and lung capacity.

To do this, sit cross-legged and rest hands on knees. Close your eyes and place your right thumb on your right nostril. Inhale deeply from your left nostril for upto 4 breaths. Similarly, close your left nostril with your right finger and hold it. After 2 seconds, lift your right thumb and exhale deeply.

Repeat this process for upto 5 minutes and preferably do so 2 hours before or after eating. Make sure you concentrate on your breathing.

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Precautions to follow

It's important to keep in mind that while dynamic breathing stretches and exercises can help boost lung function and lessen the risk of respiratory complications, a COVID+ patient must not engage in high intensity movements, and see how they are feeling first.

These exercises are best suited for those suffering from mild or moderate COVID symptoms.

Patients who have a fever, shortness of breath, palpitations or chest pain should wait before attempting any of these exercises.

Again, remember to slowly increase your pace and not completely exert yourself. If you observe a dip or fluctuation in your oxygen levels, some of these exercises could be done. Pronal breathing, or pronal position can also help boost oxygen levels if done regularly. Consult your doctor beforehand you try any of these exercises.

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