If you do just one exercise every day, try this one, says a professional sports coach: The Breathing Bridge

The bridge of breath | Photo Credit: iStock Images

Key points

  • Do you feel that on certain days you don’t want to exercise or go for a walk?

  • Are there days when you feel like you have to do just one exercise and that’s it?

  • Watch this 2-minute video from Dana Santas, Breathing, Mobility and Mind-Body Coach in Professional Sports.

You’re not alone if you feel like on certain days you don’t want to do any exercise. Dana Santas, a professional sports breathing, mobility, and mind-body coach who works with several professional sports teams, advises that you only do the 2-minute breath bridge exercise on those days.

In her Instagram post, Dana has posted the demo video and text guide of her fundamental breathing bridge fluid variation. See below for instructions.

You know those few minutes between lifts when you’re “catching your breath” sitting on the bench watching IG? Try this instead!

Dana’s “Flowing Breath Bridge” Instructions:

  1. Get down on the floor with your feet pointing forward and your hands on your lower ribs.⠀
  2. Exhale fully, then tilt your pelvis back to engage your glutes and TVA by lifting your hips 3-4 inches.⠀
  3. Flow up and down, coordinated with your breath (inhale and exhale) through two sets of 5-6 breaths.⠀
  4. Focus on the horizontal movement of the ribs with each breath, as opposed to the vertical movement that over-recruits the pecs, neck, and upper traps.⠀
  5. As you exhale, actively use your core and the guidance of your hands to move your lower ribs in, back, and down (narrowing your infrasternal angle).⠀
  6. As you inhale, your hands should move outwards as they go through the horizontal movement of the ribs.⠀
  7. Exhale completely with each breath, making your exhalations longer than your inhalations.⠀

Dana advocates that we all need to work on our breathing, as our posture and breathing are closely related, and calls the two activities ONE.

Barring pathological conditions, your breathing pattern is arguably the most important factor influencing your posture, says Dana.⠀

How is that possible?
Here’s Dana’s explanation: What we think of as “posture” encompasses the ribcage, spine, shoulders, and head.⠀⠀
With that in mind, consider this:⠀

  1. Your rib cage occupies nearly 50 percent of your axial skeleton, most of your posture.⠀
  2. Your ribs attach to your spine.⠀
  3. Your diaphragm, your main respiratory muscle, also serves as a postural stabilizer connecting your rib cage and spine.⠀
  4. Your scapula (shoulder blades) slide over your rib cage, affecting shoulder position and function.⠀
  5. Your head contains both your mouth and your nose, the two areas where the breath enters and leaves. ⠀

Dana then draws our attention to the postural impact of a typical, less-than-optimal, vertical, upper-chest-oriented breathing pattern:⠀⠀

  1. A vertical breath pulls your neck, upper back, and shoulders with inhalations.⠀
  2. As you lift and puff out your chest with each breath you take (over 24,000 times per day), you’re not only lifting and pushing out the position of your rib cage, you’re also pulling on your thoracic spine. Remember, your ribs attach to your spine.⠀
  3. At the same time, all the activity of the upper trapezius (muscles of the upper back and neck) and the higher position of the scapula contribute to rolling the shoulders forward.⠀
  4. Additionally, research shows that mouth breathing also contributes to a forward head posture and a winged scapula.

Dana travels frequently and wouldn’t waste an opportunity to exercise her joints even in the airport lounge.

Disclaimer: The tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or health care professional if you have specific questions about any medical matter.

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