We all can use better shoulder, rib, and waist mobility for optimal breathing. And we could all use better breathing for better shoulder, rib, and waist mobility! While breathing is an automatic function in our body it’s also within our manual control. The quality of the way you breathe has the potential to transform everything about your health and your body.
Breathing is the key to core and postural strength
Breathing improves your posture and your abs. Your ribcage position is dictated almost entirely by the quality of your breathing—essentially your ability to properly move your ribs during breathing is to make room and best allow your diaphragm to move.
Your shoulder blades ride on your ribcage, so they’re along for your breathing quality ride too. If your breathing is consistently chest-oriented, your ribcage will be lifted. Muscles in your chest, neck, and upper back will be dysfunctionally recruited. This, of course, causes chronic tension, pain, and limitations in neck, back and shoulder mobility, while making you more susceptible to injury. All because of poor breathing!
Our diaphragm is king of our core. If our diaphragm isn’t working optimally, either is the rest of your core. If it isn’t used functionally for breathing, it won’t work functionally for posture either, wreaking havoc on your ability to move.
A properly functioning diaphragm feeds a properly positioned ribcage, which feeds properly positioned core muscles. When the ribcage is lifted and flared for chest-oriented over-breathing, the core muscles are pulled long and inhibited. This is why you can never truly strengthen your core without addressing your breath. Also, when your ribcage is lifted and flared along with an anterior pelvic tilt, your pelvic floor is no longer underneath them. So the anything necessary for pelvic floor strength and overall core integrity is out of the question.
But breathing just happens right?
We assume we know how to breathe properly but modern living has made that a challenge. Our innate way of breathing has been warped by our sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy eating, over-heated and over-cooled houses, poor air quality and lack of fitness.
By poor breathing I mean over breathing. It has become a habit that leads to lethargy, weight gain, sleeping problems, anxiety and probably heart disease and other diseases resulting from poor transportation of life giving oxygen in our body. All because of less than optimal breathing.
Quick tips for better breathing:
You can stretch out all the short, right breathing related muscles in your neck, shoulders chest and back for temporary relief, BUT if you don’t permanently correct breathing mechanics, the pain and mobility limitations will remain. Instead, spend just a few minutes working on breathing mechanics and immediately, significantly restore mobility.
When you’re exercising (daily so it’s a daily reminder that way too!) do so with intent: the breathing, twisting, reaching, driving, and rotations. Keep your breath smooth and mindful, within each movement.
Breathe thru your nose. Make it quiet effortless and rhythmic. Belly breathe, gently pause before exhale. That’s it.