Pursed lip breathing

  • Pursed lip breathing has a range of benefits:
  • It’s been shown to reduce how hard a person has to work to breathe.
  • It helps release air trapped in the lungs.
  • It promotes relaxation.
  • It reduces shortness of breath.
  • Practicing this technique 4 to 5 times daily can help.

Here’s how to practice pursed lip breathing

  • While keeping your mouth closed, take a deep breath in through your nose, counting to 2. Follow this pattern by repeating in your head “inhale, 1, 2.” The breath does not have to be deep. A typical inhale will do.
  • Put your lips together as if you are starting to whistle or blow out candles on a birthday cake. This is known as “pursing” your lips.

While continuing to keep your lips pursed, slowly breathe out by counting to 4. Don’t try to force the air out, but instead breathe out slowly through your mouth.

Exercise tip: Pursed lip breathing is best for performing strenuous activities, such as climbing stairs.