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Posture, Breathing and Exercise

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Posture, Breathing, and Exercise

Building on last week’s topic of Posture & Thoracic Spine Mobility, we wanted to
address the relationship between posture, breathing, and exercise.

Breathing and Posture

Poor posture restricts the lungs and rib cage from fully expanding. When the lungs
and ribs can’t fully expand, it limits the body’s ability to take full breaths and creates
compensation/tension issues in the muscles associated with normal respiratory function
– this includes muscles in your neck, trunk, and hips. 
One restricted breathing pattern is
created by a tight thoracic spine/forward head lean associated with the common “Upper Cross”
postural dysfunction we mentioned last week. This candy cane-ing of the body forward, prevents
the chest and belly from fully expanding and diminishing your ability to effectively and efficiently
oxygenate the body. This also results with the shoulders rising at every inhalation in an attempt
to bring in more oxygen. Over time, this compensation creates unbalanced tension between the
muscles in the neck, further locking up the your ability to take a deep breath.

Breathing and Exercise

Exercise can aid or inhibit breathing. The reverse is true as well. Breathing can aid or inhibit
exercise. Unfortunately, many people are never taught to breathe properly during exercise.
In short, if you are doing any exercise that moves you closer towards the fetal position in
anyway, breathe out. Conversely, if the exercise moves your arms and legs away from the center,
or your spine lengthens, breathe in. This may change depending on the grip you’re using,
the amount of weight you’re lifting, or the purpose for your training.
“Your posture affects your breathing, which affects the way you exercise, which affects
your posture… Together, breathing, posture and exercise form a supportive trifecta that boosts
your optimum health.”
-Paul Chek, holistic health corrective kinesiology expert

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