In addition to having an inhaler with them, seniors with asthma should learn how to carry out breathing exercises as well. Breathing exercises can teach seniors to calm themselves and control the amount of air getting into their lungs through a wide variety of techniques. Here is a glimpse at five popular breathing techniques that have helped many asthmatic seniors over the years.
1. Diaphragmatic Breathing
Specialists have been teaching people how to carry out diaphragmatic breathing for nearly 40 years. The goal of diaphragmatic breathing is to distribute air throughout the lungs as quickly and easily as possible. The best way to carry out this exercise is to sit in a comfortable chair, breathe in through the nose, and expand the stomach. If this type of breathing is done correctly, the chest should hardly move at all.
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2. The Pursed Lips Technique
Seniors who have been diagnosed with asthma should learn a few breathing techniques that can be used when they are about to have an attack. One of the reasons asthma attacks occur is because air gets trapped in the lungs and takes up space. The goal of the pursed lips technique is to calm the nerves and push the trapped air out. Seniors should lie calmly, purse their lips as if they were going to whistle, then breathe using their stomachs.
3. Buteyko Breathing
Dr. Konstantin Buteyko invented this technique to help asthmatics control some of the most common symptoms of this lung disease. The Buteyko method has many benefits, including an increased lung capacity and a slower rate of breathing when carrying out strenuous activities. While sitting in a chair, seniors should tilt their heads back slightly and breathe through the nose with the mouth closed. After emptying the air out of their lungs, they should then hold their breath for as long as possible.
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4. The Papworth Method
This method is a great option for seniors who are about to have a minor asthma attack, but it may not help those with severe asthma. It is almost identical to diaphragmatic breathing, but seniors should try to time their breathing with whatever activity they are doing. An example of this would be a senior who is out of breath while walking. The senior should try to take short and deliberate breaths through the nose during every other step.
5. Progressive Relaxation
Unlike other breathing techniques, the goal of progressive relaxation is to ease tension throughout the body to slow breathing. In a comfortable position, seniors should slowly expand the abdomen as they breathe in through the nose and flex a single foot for 30 seconds before releasing the tension. They should then repeat the process for each major body part over the next few minutes.
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