Soon after the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the entire world, wearing a mask became mandatory for everyone, especially while stepping out. As a result of this, many individuals complained of breathing difficulties, reduced lung capacities, or of easily getting tired and feeling fatigued.
We are all aware that the Coronavirus primarily attacks our lungs. It is thus necessary to build and strengthen those muscles that are responsible for effective breathing. Exercising regularly and doing Yoga or Pranayama (breathing exercises) is one of the first things that every infected and recovered COVID-19 patient and all other healthy individuals must do. Three such breathing exercises recommended by a physiotherapist/ physical therapist are:
Apical Breathing - Inhale deeply from the nose, hold for a couple of seconds and exhale slowly through the mouth. Place your fingers on the collar bone to feel the expansion of the Lungs. Repeat for 10 times, twice a day.
Diaphragmatic Breathing - The diaphragm is the chief muscle of respiration; strengthening of this muscle will enhance the capacities of the lungs. Follow the same pattern of breathing as above, but this time place both the hands-on your abdomen to feel the expansion and repeat 10 times, twice a day.
Incase of Sputum or secretions or wheezing, practice the Huff Coughing Technique. The Huff Coughing Technique has 6 steps:
- Sit up straight with chin tilted slightly up and mouth open.
- Take a slow deep breath to fill lungs about three-quarters full.
- Hold the breath for two or three seconds.
- Exhale forcefully, but slowly, in a continuous exhalation to move mucus from the smaller to the larger airways.
Repeat this maneuver two more times and then follow with one strong cough to clear mucus from the larger airways.
Do a cycle of four to five huff coughs as part of your airway clearance.
Other points to remember:
Use an Incentive Spirometer, a very effective way to improve lung capacities.
Add the above breathing exercises to your daily routine to boost overall health.
Avoid prolonged sitting and prolong standing.
Perform the above exercises in a comfortable sitting position, do not perform in a sleeping position unless advised not to sit.
Performing breathing exercises in the fresh air will enhance the quality of technique, do not perform in a closed, suffocating room.