Summer time brings with it several activities for kids to take part in. With so much free time, kids normally go all out during the summer heat and often need to be calmed down. As important as activity is for them, the moments of relaxation in between are just as relevant to their growth. Activity needs to be followed by periods of rest. To help you and your kids this summer, especially the ones that are very activity, Neurofeedback and Counseling of Utah has devised a number of exercises aimed to help you relax. The first one happens to be the most popular relaxation technique prescribed all over the world, the practice of belly breathing.
What is Belly Breathing
Belly breathing is an exercise that requires you to take a larger and longer breath than normal. Also known as diaphragmatic breathing, belly breathing is basically what its name suggests since it requires the use of one’s belly in breathing. It can also be known as deep breathing, with the term diaphragmatic being used since the diaphragm contracts and relaxes extensively in this type of breathing.
The way we normally breathe is known as shallow breathing. It simply involves the lungs and only the area above the diaphragm is utilized for it. On the other hand, belly breathing goes far more down and involves the belly as well. It’s a breathing exercise that makes use of the muscles starting from your head right down to your belly. The belly muscles are used to get more force behind the breathing action and inhale more air inside your body.
How to do Diaphragmatic Breathing
Since belly breathing, involves the belly, it requires some extra force. While inhaling, you need to suck in as much air as possible to the point that your belly extends and is shaped like a balloon, an example is shown in our Belly Breathing Facebook Live video. Once your belly is filled with air and has reached its maximum stretching point, you need to hold the air inside you for two seconds. After the two seconds have passed, the air should be exhaled out slowly, with more time being spent on exhaling than inhaling. A good example for kids to follow when inhaling is to imagine a cupcake in their hand and smelling the aroma it gives and then imagining blowing out a hundred candles with a slow and long breath.
The Benefits of Belly Breathing
Belly breathing gives the body a larger amount of oxygen to consume and send to each and every cell in the body. This greater amount of oxygen helps to remove the strain and stress the cells feel and thus extends to the entire body later on. It’s a fantastic way to relax your brain, spinal cord, and the entire nervous system, making it the apex relaxing exercise for people of all ages.
Resource for Parents – DIAPHRAGMATIC BREATHING and Calming Methods handout