When to seek medical advice
Some simple exercises can improve your breathing if you have emphysema or another chronic lung disorder. They help you control the emptying of your lungs by using your abdominal muscles. You can also increase the efficiency of your lungs. Ask your doctor about them. Do them two to four times daily.
Lie on your back with your head and knees supported by pillows. Begin by breathing in and out slowly and smoothly in a rhythmic pattern. Relax.
Place your fingertips on your abdomen, just below the base of your rib cage. As you inhale slowly, you should feel your diaphragm lifting your hand.
Practice pushing your abdomen against your hand as your chest becomes filled with air. Make sure your chest remains motionless. Try this while inhaling through your mouth and counting slowly to three. Then purse your lips and exhale through your mouth while counting slowly to six.
Practice diaphragmatic breathing on your back until you can take 10 to 15 consecutive breaths in one session without tiring. Then practice it on one side and then on the other. Progress to doing the exercise while sitting erect in a chair, standing up, walking and, finally, climbing stairs.
Try the diaphragmatic breathing exercises with your lips pursed as you exhale, that is, with your lips puckered — the flow of air should make a soft "sssss" sound. Inhale deeply through your mouth and exhale. Repeat 10 times at each session.
While sitting or standing, pull your elbows firmly backward as you inhale deeply. Hold the breath in, with your chest arched, for a count to five, and then force the air out by contracting your abdominal muscles. Repeat the exercise 10 times.
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