The health of your lungs is paramount in this day and age. It is integral for the lungs to receive sufficient oxygen to ensure that no stale air remains inside them. If you have a medical condition that affects lung function, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) or dyspnea, it is easy for stale air to become trapped in the lungs. Pursed lip breathing is a technique that can help prevent this from happening.
What Is Pursed Lip Breathing?
This breathing technique works to make breaths more effective by slowing them down with intention. The goal of pursed lip breathing is to control oxygenation and ventilation, and you do this by breathing air in through the nose and exhaling out of the mouth in a controlled, slow flow. After you inhale through your nose, you purse your lips and exhale through them. This helps to stimulate the autonomic nervous system and optimize lung mechanics. By removing stale air that is trapped in the lungs, it helps decrease the amount of breaths required to sufficiently oxygenate them.
Who Can Benefit From Pursed Lip Breathing?
Engaging in pursed lip breathing helps you gain control over your breathing, which is beneficial for people with lung or respiratory conditions. This technique is often recommended as part of a pulmonary rehabilitation plan for people with asthma, dyspnea, or COPD. Pursed lip breathing is not solely intended for people with lung conditions, though. People with excessive mucus production, chest tightness, or chronic cough can benefit from pursed lip breathing.
How To Do Pursed Lip Breathing
Pursed lip breathing requires practice, but it will eventually become second nature to you. It is beneficial to be in a focused or relaxed state when engaging in this technique. To practice:
- Sit up straight or lie down on your back. Relax the shoulders as much as you can.
- Inhale through the nose for two seconds and pay attention to the air that moves into the abdomen. The goal is to fill the abdomen with air, not just your lungs.
- Purse your lips as though you are about to blow out candles on a cake. Exhale slowly, taking twice as long as to breathe out as you did to breathe in.
- Repeat this for about 10 minutes.
- Over time, you will be able to increase the inhale and exhale counts, but begin with a two-second inhale and an four-second exhale.
Why Should You Do Pursed Lip Breathing?
Even if you don’t have a respiratory condition, pursed lip breathing benefits lung function and capacity. The purpose is to keep the airways open longer, decreasing the effort that is required to breathe. If carbon dioxide becomes trapped in the lungs, you can experience difficulty breathing. Get rid of that old air and make room for new, fresh oxygen by engaging in pursed lip breathing!
You should practice pursed lip breathing until it becomes second nature. Once you fully have it down, you’ll be able to improve breath control, improve cardiovascular strength for exercising, and expel stale air from the lungs.