Recommended Breathing Exercises for COVID-19 Recovery

Can breathing practices help you recover from Covid?  

Yes, breathing practices can help you recover from Covid or any other respiratory illness.  “Working toward recovery starts simple: with a focus on breathing,” according to Johns Hopkins physical therapist Peiting Lien.

Peiting is one of many medical professionals recommending breathing practices to positively impact your breathing and lung function during Covid recovery.

In addition, breathing exercises are proven to reduce stress, anxiety, sleeping problems and improve your mental and physical wellness. In this article you can find practical breathing technologies to help improve health. 

Covid-19 has been the biggest challenge to the human race in over a hundred years. It has disrupted our traditional way of life at work, home and daily activities.

As we all know now, the coronavirus, which causes Covid 19, attacks the lungs and the respiratory system. We have witnessed health challenges of loved ones and many of us have experienced the effects of Covid 19 infection with different symptoms and lingering negative health implications.

Covid 19 can have a lasting impact on an individual’s health and capacity to exercise. It often leads to pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) – a severe lung injury. A full recovery can be assured after months of exercise and therapy. 

What are common symptoms of Covid-19?

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has listed eleven main Covid 19 symptoms: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of sensation or smell, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea.

One of the most common and noticeable symptoms has been respiratory issues such as coughing or shortness of breath.

What are some breathing exercises to help with Covid-19?

Breathing exercises help with Covid 19 and allow lungs to function more efficiently. They could be helpful in reducing the impact of Covid 19 symptoms before, after and even during the infection.

Here is a sample video with more than 3 million views of a British Queen’s medical physician demonstrating quick tips to manage deeper breathing techniques to battle Covid-19 symptoms along with other medical professionals.

Below are some highly recommended breathing exercises for Covid recovery. Please consult with your doctor or medical professional before trying any strenuous practices and ensure these practices are best for you before beginning any new exercises.    

Diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing

This breathing exercise helps in restoring lung function by using the diaphragm. It involves breathing through the nose which strengthens the diaphragm and sends a signal to the nervous system to relax and repair itself.

This is used as a breathing exercise for Covid and is practiced in phases. A patient can move gradually from one phase to another once they don’t experience any discomfort in the initial phase and can also increase repetitions accordingly.

This is considered one of the best breathing exercises for Covid

women with smile

Phase 1: Deep breathing while on your back.

  • Lie on your back and bend your knees.
  • Place your hands on top of your stomach or wrap them around the sides of your stomach.
  • Close your lips and place your tongue on the roof of your mouth.
  • Breathe in through the nose and pull air down into your stomach where your hands are. Try to spread your fingers apart with your breath.
  • Slowly exhale your breath through the nose.

Continue taking deep breaths for one minute and repeat the same steps in phase 2 while you lie down on your stomach, in phase 3 while you sit up and in phase 4 while you are standing.

“Yawn to smile” breathing posture

This exercise includes movement with deep breathing, which helps increase coordination and builds arm and shoulder strength. It also helps in diaphragm expansion by opening up the muscles in your chest.

  • Sit upright on the edge of your bed or on a chair.
  • Reach your arms overhead and create a big stretching yawn.
  • Bring your arms down and finish by smiling for three seconds.
  • Repeat for one minute.
Women stretching her body

The “Humming” Breathing Posture

Humming, such as the chanting of “om” in yoga, can help pull oxygen into the lungs with each breath. This exercise has a calming effect.

Here are some quick easy steps for this exercise:

  • Sit upright with a straight back.
  • Place each hand on the sides of your lower abdomen.
  • Keep your lips closed and gently rest your tongue on the roof of your mouth.
  • Breathe deeply and slowly through your nose.
  • Allow your fingers to spread wide on your stomach as it expands.
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed. Do not let them rise.
  • Once your lungs feel full, exhale while humming. Make sure to keep your lips closed.
  • Repeat for several breaths.
Women doing yoga

Beyond Breathing – Tips to keep lung health during this Covid 19 Pandemic?

During these unprecedented times, not only is it important to stay safe for your family and friends, but it is equally critical to keep your lungs and immune system healthy so as to improve your body’s ability to fight off infections and illness.

Your mental health and wellness should be your number one priority so that you can continue to thrive and help others in your daily life. Here are some easy and effective tips for lung health and better breathing habits: 

Hydration- Proper hydration keeps your lungs lubricated so that irritants and mucus thin out. 
Diet-Food choices are very important for lung and immune system health. There are many foods that assist the body with decreasing inflammation in the airways. Foods that are high in vitamins and antioxidants like fruits, vegetables and omega-3 are excellent choices. 
Avoid Smoking- Cigarettes, cigars, vapes should be avoided at all times. Not only can smoking cause lung cancer but inhaling anything other than air into your lungs leads to inflammation.
Vaccination- Since the flu can seriously compromise your pulmonary health, it is important to avoid getting the flu.  While the vaccine is viable for everyone at this moment in time, it is an important consideration to get the flu or Covid vaccine to reduce your chance of catching a debilitating virus. Please stay safe and ready to fight off infections.
Prevent infection- One of the best ways to protect your lungs and prevent infection is to not contaminate your eyes, nose or mouth with pathogens that live on surfaces. Washing your hands with soap and running water is the most effective way of doing this. It is also important to listen to the advice of public health experts and remain home, avoiding crowds as much as possible. 
Exercise– Keeping your mind and body fit increases your immunity. It helps you keep your physical health in check, fights stress and anxiety. Breathing exercises are particularly useful in restoring lung function and fighting any post Covid symptoms.