Did you know that you can use different breathing techniques to help your body relax, decrease stress/anxiety, engage your core better during exercise, relieve pressure on the pelvic floor and back, and help to manage pain during contractions in labor? Your breathing muscle is called your diaphragm and it is located in a cross-section underneath your rib cage and between your chest and abdominal cavities.
The first breathing technique we will practice is called a 360 diaphragmatic breath. This is where we learn how to breathe using your diaphragm and not the muscles in your chest, neck and shoulders!
The second breathing technique is called the destressor breath. This type of breath is great to use if you are feeling stressed or anxious and can also be a way to manage pain during early and active labor contractions.
Our final breathing technique is called the connection breath. This type of breath will help turn on your deepest core muscles for good support when you are exercising.
A final note is that when performing strengthening exercises (even gentle body weight strengthening), do not hold your breath. This is a compensation (cheat!) that puts extra pressure on your back, pelvic floor, or abs and overtime or with increased loads, can result in pain or injury. As a general rule of thumb, it is best to “breathe out during the work phase” of an exercise. The work phase is the harder part of the movement. For example: during a bicep curl, breathe out as you lift the weight up and breathe in as you lower the weight. During a squat, breathe in as you lower down and breathe out as you stand up.
If you would like more guidance on how to incorporate these breathing techniques to help manage pain/anxiety, to prepare for labor, or to optimize your workout, reach out by clicking the Book Now button above!
Dr. Julie Berube is a pelvic floor physical therapist who is on a mission to revolutionize the standard of healthcare for women in Central New York and the Syracuse area.