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Just Breathe

Whether you’re swinging a kettlebell or training for a 5K, you have to first focus on the fundamentals –  including proper breathing techniques. Try these breathing exercises to help you stay centered as well as manage stress and anxiety.

Pucker UP – This exercise, called pursed-lip breathing, can help you take fewer breaths while opening up your airways. The result is new air flowing into your lungs, and more old air moving out. HOW to DO IT – Start by pursing your lips as if you’re going to whistle. Breathe in through your nose and slowly exhale through your mouth, keeping your lips puckered.

Use Your Belly – Good breathing starts with your diaphragm. Diaphragmatic breathing, also known as abdominal or belly breathing, can help strengthen that all-important muscle and reduce the number of breaths you take.  HOW to DO IT – Lie down on the floor and put something light on your abs.. a magazine, tv remote or your hand. Breathe in through your nose and exhale very slowly while watching how your belly moves up and down as it fills with air.

Feel the Rhythm – Runners sometimes use rhythmic breathing to regulate their breaths and capture more oxygen. But you don’t need to run a 5K to benefit from this exercise, which can help you slow your breathing and relax your muscles.  HOW to DO IT – You can try rhythmic breathing in any position, from sitting in the lotus position to walking around the grocery store. Take a deep breath in and then tense your muscles. As you exhale, relax your muscles. Keep it slow – take a breath every 5 or 6 seconds –  and try to get into a rhythm.