The way we breathe affects our metabolism because the amount of oxygen we take in affects how many calories we burn. It's a subconscious habit, but you can consciously change the way you breathe to boost your metabolism. The majority of people habitually take shallow breaths that fill up only half of their lungs with oxygen. However, when you use proper breathing technique, you will fill your lungs with oxygen from your abdomen to your chest.
Effects of Breathing on Metabolism
Breathing in oxygen allows your cells to produce more energy, increasing your metabolism. By thinning your blood, oxygen lowers your blood pressure so blood can flow more quickly through your body, which also improves your metabolism. Therefore, the more oxygen in your body, the faster your metabolism. Increasing your lung capacity and achieving deeper breathing happens slowly over time. Your body also needs to get used to increased oxygen levels. Be patient and work on your breathing every day to improve it gradually.
Proper Breathing Basics
Inhale from your abdomen, from the lowest part of your belly that you can. First, your stomach should expand when you inhale, then your ribs and finally your chest. Keep your shoulders down and relaxed. Exhale slowly, for about twice as long as you inhaled, first letting the air out of your chest, then your ribs and finally your abdomen.
"Fire Breathing" to Increase Metabolism
This breathing exercise will improve your metabolism and leave you feeling calm but energized. Stand or sit for this exercise, but avoid lying down. Inhale through your nose for the count of four to fill your lungs completely. Once your lungs feel full, start doing "fire breathing" by taking eight to ten quick tiny breaths, inhaling and exhaling without pausing. Exhale to empty your lungs. Repeat for up to 30 reps.
Breath Retention to Increase Lung Capacity
The breath retention exercise Kumbhaka Pranayama increases your oxygen supply, expands your lungs, stretches your rib cage's intercostal muscles and boosts your metabolism. Retaining your air for 10 to 20 seconds gives your lungs more time to receive the oxygen from your breath. Inhale for the count of five, then hold your breath for five to eight seconds and exhale for eight seconds. You will increase the length you can hold your breath over time. Do this exercise for just a couple repetitions the first time you do it, then increase by one repetition each week.