Feeling short of breath can have several causes. Exercise and strenuous exertion often causes difficulty breathing, especially if you are out of shape. Asthma, anxiety and COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, may also cause shortness of breath. If you have shortness of breath that can't be explained by exertion or physical activity and affects your ability to function, you should consult a doctor immediately.
Pursed Lip Breathing
According to COPD International, pursed lip breathing can help to improve your breathing if you feel short of breath. Pursed lip breathing is a technique that uses prolonged exhalation, that is, an exhalation that is three to four times longer than your inhalation. Breathe in through your nose and exhale out through pursed lips, making your lips into the shape you would use to whistle. The exhale should be noticeably longer in duration than the inhale. You can use this technique to combat shortness of breath at any time and in any place you feel comfortable enough to do so.
Deep breathing exercises are frequently prescribed by therapists and yoga and meditation teachers to help you focus on your breath and produce feelings of calm and relaxation. This technique is effective if you feel short of breath as it helps to slow down your breath rate. According to integrated medicine specialist and physician Andrew Weil, deep breathing can help you deal with the symptoms related to anxiety, stress and other medical conditions. One way to perform deep breathing exercises is to use a technique where you mentally count after each exhale. You focus on your breath, inhale, and then exhale, breathing as much air out of your lungs as possible. You mentally count "one," after the first exhale, then repeat the process and count "two" after the second exhale, and so on, until you reach a count of five. Then you begin this process again, practicing for a number of minutes until your breath returns to a slow, calm and easy rate.
Abdominal breathing, also referred to as diaphragmatic breathing, uses a technique similar to deep breathing, but without counting and with a slightly different focus. You can use this technique to promote calm and relaxation and help to ease shortness of breath. According to the American Medical Student Association, abdominal breathing can also help to improve your overall stamina. You start this technique by placing one hand on your abdomen and one hand on your chest. You slowly breathe in, trying to focus on the breath starting in your abdominal area and rising up to your chest. As you breathe out, you reverse the process, letting the air out first from your chest and ending with your abdomen.
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