We have all experienced this. It is mid afternoon, a couple hours after lunch and a couple hours prior to the end of our workday. You are at your desk or computer and your energy is quickly fading. Typically reaching for coffee, an energy drink, or worse – something sugary and sweet will only briefly spike your energy level, but ultimately they will make you feel even more tired.
Lets try something a little different that will most certainly make you feel more “alive,” It is called Diaphragmtic Pursed Lip Breathing. No need to feel intimidated by the technical jargon as this technique is incredibly simply to perform and surprisingly effective. It may be performed anywhere in a seated, standing or lying position, requires only a minute or two of your time and requires no equipment of any type.
1.) Take a comfortable position (seated/standing or lying down are all fine). Eyes may remain open or closed. With an open or closed mouth, take a long, slow, and deliberate breath while trying to bring the air into your abdomen rather than filling your chest. Please do not be concerned with aesthetics as it is okay and even desirable to have your belly fill with air and push out a bit during inhalation. Don’t worry if your chest also rises and fills with air as you focus on bringing the air into your belly, as this is normal as well. This entire inhalation process should take approximately 3 seconds. This is the diaphragmatic breathing that was referred to earlier.
2.) After completing as full and deep an inhalation as is comfortable, hold the air in your belly/abdomen/chest for approximately 2 seconds.
3.) The final portion of the breath should be as slow an exhalation as possible with pursed lips, (as if you were trying to blow out the candles on a birthday cake.) This exhalation should take approximately 3-6 seconds.
Lets put it all together now! First, take a slow and deliberate breath in while trying to bring the air into your belly. Then, pause and hold your breath for 2 seconds. Finally, exhale slow and deliberately while keeping your lips pursed for 3-6 seconds. A total of 10 breaths should take approximately 90 seconds. If you feel motivated to do more feel free.
This breathing pattern will help oxygenate all the cells in your body making you feel much more alert, focused and energized. Give it a try and you will be pleasantly surprised.
John completed his Bachelor of Science Physical Therapy at New York University and his Bachelor of Science Exercise Physiology at the University of Massachusetts. John is a Board Certified Physical Therapist in the State of California. He is also Certified Instructor of Physical Agents and Modalities for the California Board of Occupational Therapy. John has over 20 years of experience using his skills to help patients recover from various orthopedic injuries and surgeries. He has trained extensively in manual techniques including Myofascial Release, Trigger Point Therapy and Joint Mobilization Techniques. He has been a consultant rehabilitating Elite World Class Powerlifitng Athletes including members of the U.S. Powerlifitng Team.