Breathe for Better Health

By K. Aleisha Fetters |

Inhale and exhale along with this guided belly breathing routine for better physical and mental health.

Take a deep breath. Pause. Now let it out.

When it comes to calming both body and mind, there's nothing like a good, full breath, says SilverSneakers Master Trainer Sharlyn Green. By activating the parasympathetic nervous system, dedicated breathwork helps lower heart rate, blood pressure, and even stress hormones. It's at at the heart of the mind-body connection.

In this guided breathwork routine, Sharlyn shares how to get the full benefits of each breath through diaphragmatic breathing (a.k.a. belly breathing or "breathing from your belly"). At the end of the session, you'll feel more relaxed, grounded, and inspired to incorporate breathwork into your regular workouts.

How Breathe Better Works

Sit down in a chair or lie down on the floor or in your bed to begin this routine. You'll end the session standing, and you can place a hand on the chair or bed if needed for support. It's also helpful to have water, and you should feel free to sip as you need. You may notice your mouth drying out with all of the breathing!

All you need to do is press play and follow along.

To keep tabs on your effort, use a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the hardest. You can ramp up or dial down as you need, but hard physical exertion is not the goal here. Try to cap things at a 2 to 3. As you move, prioritize good form. Most importantly, keep breathing.

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As always, safety is key. The exercises here may be different or more advanced than those you’ll experience in a SilverSneakers class. If you have a chronic condition, an injury, or balance issues, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.

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