Breathing With Your Belly (A Game Changer)

The average human breathes approximately 20,000 times per day.

The average human is also in a constant state of stress… by not utilizing our most important breathing muscle. Hint: It’s part of your inner-core muscle unit!


How Do We Breathe?

When you ask someone the question: What body part do you use to breathe? I can almost guarantee you’ll hear this answer: “With my lungs.”

While this isn’t incorrect, it’s not the full story. There’s another critical muscle that we need to make the lungs work efficiently: Our Diaphragm!


Without getting too “science-y”… When we inhale, our diaphragm contracts. This action pushes the ribs up and out, making room for the lungs to open and fill with oxygen.

Then, oxygen and important ions that we breathe in are exchanged via the lungs and diffused into to our blood by way of the heart.  On the exhale, we get rid of waste, toxins and CO2. And this dance continues 24 hours a day… Everyday of our existence.

With the lungs working so hard to do these things… We need to ask – what is keeping our lungs working so strong?

Answer: The Diaphragm!

This parachute-shaped muscle attaches to our lungs. And as we breathe in, the diaphragm contracts, helping our lungs to expand and fill. It does this by creating space in our thorax so that our lungs have more room to fill.

This action happens automatically. However, when you’re not utilizing your diaphragm to its fullest potential, your breaths will remain shallow. Shallow breaths introduce more room for illness, exhaustion, pain, discomfort… and the list goes on.

Cue “Fight or Flight”

The more shallow our breathing, the more our body thinks we are in danger, cueing the “fight or flight” response.

Breathing For Survival

You see — our ancestors had one basic thought at the forefront of their minds: Survival. They needed to find food, water, and shelter. When they weren’t moving to find those things, they were resting. Their body was in its “parasympathetic” nervous state (PSNS).

When in PSNS, our nervous system allows us to digest our food, fight infection, repair muscles and damaged tissue, and so much more.

Danger! Cue the SNS!


If danger is present, our body switches to the “sympathetic nervous system” (SNS). When this happens, the only thing our body worries about is survival. Getting away from the present danger. Digestion, immune function, and repair (and anything to do with the PSNS) stops… and adrenaline kicks in.

Danger Averted

Once we are no longer in danger, our body switches back to the parasympathetic nervous system. Digestion, repair, and healing resumes. has a great explanation diving deeper into Parasympathetic and Sympathetic Nervous systems. The article points out, “the more time we spend in PSNS the healthier we are”.


Why Does This Matter?

When we are in SNS, our body is doing what it can to get air into the lungs so that we can “survive” whatever danger we are facing.

In order to respond quickly, the body tells whatever muscles are available to quickly open the lungs. Quick, shallow breathing is the result.

The long and short of it is – Today’s societal demands trigger our sympathetic nervous system constantly… Therefore, most of the population is activating muscles that lead to shallow breathing on a regular basis.

Shallow Breathing Equals Muscle and System Imbalance

As we age and experience the surge of societal stressors, our diaphragm slowly becomes weaker. We stop using it efficiently and our body thinks it is in a constant state of stress. 

A weak diaphragm leads to a weak core… and a weak core leads to injury and imbalance throughout the whole body.

Without sufficient oxygen in your body — you will greatly weaken your immune system, your muscles will not repair as efficiently, and your overall well-being will be compromised.

With shallow-breath, the body also tends to recruit muscles throughout the neck and upper back to assist with opening the lungs. This will cause neck stiffness, a sore back and shoulders, along with poor posture and the worst of it – a weak core. 

Diaphragmatic Breathing

By strengthening your diaphragm, you’ll have a greater capacity for sufficient oxygen supply, your body will trigger your PSNS more often, and you will have a stronger core musculature. 

All of this will lead to balance throughout the body… and a happier, healthier lifestyle!


A Strong Diaphragm: Mom’s Greatest Tool

Whether you are a woman looking to get pregnant, in the midst of growing a baby, or are a new or seasoned mom… A strong diaphragm will be your greatest tool in your health and wellness toolbox. 

For guidance on how to activate these core breathing muscles, book a completely FREE Virtual Assessment with Melissa here. No obligation!

Solo training sessions and group classes now available!

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