Seniors with asthma often breathe faster compared to people not afflicted with the disorder. Asthmatics tend to breathe through their mouths, which could expose the lungs to cool, dry air and trigger asthma attacks. However, there are several exercises designed to control breathing rate and depth and reduce the symptoms of asthma.
1. Using the Diaphragm
Also known as belly breathing, this technique is designed to maximize the distribution of air throughout the lungs. The exercise is performed while lying down or sitting upright. Seniors should sit or lie down in a comfortable position, then breathe in and out slowly through the nose. When inhaling properly, the abdomen should extend outward, not the chest. When exhaling, the abdomen should go inward. Exhalations should also be twice as long as inhalations.
Seniors with limited mobility or other health conditions can do breathing exercises with the help of professional caregivers. If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a Phoenix home care company you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services.
2. Buteyko Technique
This method helps asthmatics by reducing respiration rates and increasing the volume of air taken into the lungs. Seniors can perform the exercise while sitting. They should close their eyes and tilt the head forward slightly, then relax the abdominal and chest muscles. The next steps include breathing softly through the nose while keeping the mouth closed, exhaling slowly through the nose until the lungs feel empty, and holding the breath for as long as possible.
3. Physical Exercise
This method combines breathing with physical movements. Seniors should tense the muscles from the shoulders to the abdomen, then relax. Breathing should be performed with the eyes closed and the body relaxed.
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4. Papworth Technique
This method is ideal for seniors who have mild asthma. Many believe the technique to be effective for seniors who have attacks secondary to chronic mouth breathing or rapid breathing. Papworth is similar to the Buteyko and diaphragmatic breathing techniques, and it focuses on nasal breathing and adjusting the rate and depth of breathing to current physical activity. Seniors must remember to relax and breathe gently using the abdomen and diaphragm.
5. Pursed Lip Method
This type of breathing is recommended during an asthma attack. It helps release air trapped in the lungs and promotes normal breathing rhythm. The technique involves inhaling slowly through the nose, then exhaling slowly through pursed or puckered lips as if about to whistle. Seniors should consciously breathe from the belly and not the chest, and each exhalation should be twice as long as the inhalation.
6. Progressive Relaxation
Seniors can use this method to regain control over breathing rhythm by inhaling slowly and shallowly through the nose and not the mouth. They should lie down, close their eyes, and relax all of the body’s muscles. Using the diaphragm, they should inhale and exhale slowly through the nose, then tighten the muscles of one foot, relax, and repeat using the other foot. This exercise can be repeated moving upward through the body until every muscle is relaxed. Once completed, seniors can remain in the relaxed position for as long as they desire.
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