As the weather gets colder I realize that my breathing pattern changes. I pile on layers of clothing, tuck my chin under my scarf and go. The disadvantage of this, is that my posture — shoulders rounded forward and head down — is making it harder for my diaphragm to work.
The diaphragm is a muscle that helps you fill your lungs with air, and when we are hunched over, our posture blocks its room for movement. This can also happen sitting at your desk all day, slouching while watching TV, or when we slump forward while texting on our phones.
As your diaphragm contracts it moves downward in your ribcage and creates room and movement for your lungs to fill up with air. As it relaxes it moves upward, helping to push air out of your lungs. Good posture is necessary to give it room to move!
The diaphragm also works with your abdominal muscles, lumbar muscles and pelvic floor to stabilize your spine and pelvis. In order to have a strong core for working out, picking up your kids, or even carrying your laundry basket, it’s important to have all of these muscles working to the best of their ability.
Practice good posture by sitting straight in your chair – head aligned over your shoulders and shoulders aligned over your hips. Practice good diaphragmatic breathing — inhale through your nose and allow your lower ribcage to expand out in every direction: front to back and side to side.