Post Covid Recovery – Simple Breathing Exercises

Dr. Neha Gidwani

Dr. Neha Gidwani

Masters in Exercise Science & Sports Physiotherapy

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While COVID-19 continues to spread its wrath around the world, promising recovery rates have given hope to people that it’s not the worst disease to battle.

 

However, post-COVID care is something which needs attention, even after a person has tested negative for the virus.

 

Studies have detailed how the COVID causing SARS-COV-2 virus is likely to linger in your body, long after the virus load has depleted and exhibit unpleasant side-effects.

Covid Recovery Programmes

Why is post-COVID care important?

Post an infection, most individuals do gain sufficient antibodies which prevent chances of reinfection. However, it’s still not conclusive as to how long can immunity last. Reinfection cases have been documented as well. More so, for people who belong to a high-risk category, or are old, taking preventive measures to further safeguard immunity can be quite helpful. Hence, post-COVID infection, safety still should never be taken lightly.

While the guidelines recommend patients to wear a mask and practice social distancing, some additional exercises can significantly aid in your recovery. Read our Latest Post on 14 Day Diet Plan for Home Quarantine during Covid.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing, or “belly breathing,” involves fully engaging the stomach, abdominal muscles, and diaphragm when breathing. This means actively pulling the diaphragm down with each inward breath. In this way, diaphragmatic breathing helps the lungs fill more efficiently.

Breathing is a natural process that usually occurs without conscious effort. However, the average breath tends to be shallow and does not engage the diaphragm very much.

During diaphragmatic breathing, a person consciously engages their diaphragm in order to take deeper breaths. A person will notice their stomach rising and falling. They will also feel an expanding or stretching sensation in the stomach, rather than solely in their chest and shoulders.

Benefits

Diaphragmatic breathing helps a person engage the diaphragm fully while breathing. This may provide a number of health benefits, including:

  • strengthening the diaphragm
  • improving stability in the core muscles
  • slowing the breathing rate
  • lowering heart rate and blood pressure
  • reducing oxygen demand
  • promoting relaxation

A person should talk to their doctor about the potential risks and benefits of adding diaphragmatic breathing to their treatment plan.

Pursed Lip Breathing

Pursed lip breathing is a breathing technique designed to make your breaths more effective by making them slower and more intentional. You do this after inhaling by puckering your lips and exhaling through them slowly and deliberately, often to a count.

Pursed lip breathing improves the lung mechanics and breathing all at once, meaning that you don’t have to work as hard to breathe well. This is particularly helpful for people who have lung conditions that make it more difficult for them to breathe. These conditions can include obstructive lung disease, such as Asthma, and restrictive lung disease, such as pulmonary fibrosis (PF), which is a type of interstitial lung disease (ILD).

Benefits

Pursed lip breathing can help improve and control your breathing in several ways, including:

  • relieving shortness of breath by slowing the breath rate
  • keeping the airways open longer, which decreases the work that goes into breathing
  • improving ventilation by moving old air (carbon dioxide) trapped in the lungs out and making room for new, fresh oxygen

In addition to the lung benefits, this technique can also lead to overall relaxation. By taking consistent, deep breaths, you can calm the central nervous system, which has a relaxing effect on your entire body. This can help reduce stress and anxiety.

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