Breathe Deeply to Help Aid COVID-19 Recovery
“Just take a deep breath” is often used to relieve stress and anxiety, but during this global pandemic, it is also good advice for those recovering from COVID-19.
If you are recovering from COVID-19 at home, these simple breathing exercises can help you build up to improved respiratory function. The mental health benefits of deep breathing also combat the emotional roller coaster people experience while recovering from a severe case of COVID-19.
“While these breathing exercises are convenient to start at home during isolation, recovery or even quarantine, you should refrain if you suffer from a fever, labored breathing while at rest, chest pain or leg swelling,” said Joni Colle, BSN, RN, RRT, cardiology administration with Memorial Medical Center. “If unsure, contact your healthcare professional before starting.”
Try to complete these exercises in the following three positions.
- On your back: Breathe in slowly through your nose. Keep your mouth closed and rest tongue on roof of mouth. Place your hands on your stomach. Feel your stomach dome up as air comes in; then feel your stomach sink down as you exhale slowly. Repeat this cycle, breathing in through your nose deeply and then slowly exhaling—out your nose or with pursed-lips. Repeat for one minute or 10-12 breaths. Once able to perform this exercise lying on your back, you may progress to sitting upright in a chair using the same cues.
- Sitting down: Use good posture while seated. Breathe in through your nose, focusing on the outward movement of your stomach. Placing one hand on the stomach while the other is on your chest helps as you inhale, then fully exhale through your nose or pursed lips. Repeat for one minute or 10-12 breaths.
- On your stomach: Laying down, place your head on your arms or hands so that you have space to breathe deeply. Keep mouth closed and rest tongue on roof of mouth. Breathe in slowly through your nose and then slowly exhale through your nose or pursed lips. Repeat for one minute or 10-12 breaths.