Even in the context of fitness, recovery extends beyond the body, all the way to the mind. If we only focus on how well we recover from exercise and physical activity, we may ignore that overall stress plays a role in recovery and affects how soon we’re ready for another workout.
That’s why the Polar Ignite fitness watch takes a more holistic approach to monitoring recovery with the Nightly Recharge feature and offers a stress management tool to help you boost recovery: the Serene breathing exercise.
Here’s why you should try deep breathing and how to get the hang of the right technique and routine.
Why deep breathing?
Mindful deep breathing is a proven way to relieve stress that negatively affects your health, well-being, and ability to work out and perform at your best. It’s a simple technique that you can use to consciously evoke the relaxation response.
When you breathe slowly your heart rate starts to synchronize to the rhythm of your breathing and your body sends a message to your brain: “You’re calm, you’re safe.” When your mind is calm and ready for the challenges that lie ahead, your body will be able to perform better, too.
If you regularly apply deep breathing exercises, you may start to see benefits such as better resilience, reduced cumulative effects of stress, and improved sleep and overall well-being.
Deep breathing can help you:
- Prepare you for the day with a serene mindset
- Unwind during the day
- Fall asleep more easily and sleep more soundly
- Focus your energy before an important event
How to do deep breathing
Deep breathing refers to actively engaging your diaphragm. (That’s how we learn to breathe as babies but often forget somewhere along the way.)
Here’s how to get started:
- Lie down on your back.
- Let your breathing flow in and out naturally for a while.
- Put one hand on your abdomen right below your lungs/ rib cage and the other on your chest above your heart (it’s useful to feel the movements of your abdomen and chest as you’re learning the deep breathing technique)
- Inhale slowly through your nose, while keeping your abdomen relaxed. You should feel your abdomen rising and your rib cage expanding.
- Exhale slowly through your mouth, slightly pursing your lips but keeping your jaw relaxed.
- When you breathe out, releasing all the air from your lungs, your rib cage pushes the air out of the lungs and you should feel your abdomen contracting.
Guided breathing Exercises with Polar Ignite
If you’d like even more specific guidance for deep breathing, try the Serene breathing exercise on the Polar Ignite fitness watch. The Polar Ignite is first and foremost a fitness watch, but it’s not limited to only guiding your workouts – it focuses equally on training and recovery (and stress relief with deep breathing plays a significant role in boosting recovery).
Sit down comfortably, wearing your Polar Ignite snuggly, start the Serene breathing exercise and follow the instructions on the screen.
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Please note that the information provided in the Polar Blog articles cannot replace individual advice from health professionals. Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness program.