Why Train Breathing?


Chiropractic Apex NC Couple Biking

“If breathing is not normalized, no other movement pattern can be.” – Karel Lewit, MD

I want you to think about your breath for a minute. Most of you could probably tell me without hesitation that breathing is facilitated by our muscular system. But you probably didn’t know that you take 17,000 - 30,000 breaths every single day -- if you’re training a muscle, that’s a lot of reps!! And just like when you’re training any other muscle, improper form can lead to imbalances, dysfunction, and injury. So… what is this muscle that we use to breathe? The short answer is, it depends. Let top Apex Chiropractor Tri Myers explain.

The diaphragm is the muscle that we are meant to use for breathing. It’s dome shaped and separates our abdominal cavity from our chest cavity, and it actually is a very important component of our core (though you are probably used to thinking of “core muscles” as just those six-pack abs you see on the cover of fitness magazines). We also have some muscles which can be used as backup for breathing in times of high stress. The main purpose of these muscles is stabilization of the spine, but they help out the diaphragm when we go into fight or flight mode. This breathing pattern is referred to as “high threshold breathing,” and would be used for, say, running away from a bear.

Fortunately, you don’t see too many lions and tigers (and bears, oh my!) wandering around the streets these days. Modern day stress, for the most part, is chronic rather than acute. Most of us are under some form of low to medium level stress which takes place over a longer period of time -- for example, stress at your job or an unhealthy relationship. What happens is we automatically adopt a pattern of high-threshold breathing as a response to the stress, but we don’t return to normal diaphragmatic breathing. This habit is cemented, and we often function this way for years and years without any awareness of what’s going on.


Alright, but why is this a problem…? Well, our muscles aren’t multitaskers. They can only do one thing at a time, which means that if our spinal stabilizers are busy helping us breathe then they’re not able to stabilize our core. No matter how many sit-ups, crunches, planks, etc. you’re doing, if you aren’t breathing properly then it’s essentially useless. Anytime during the day when your body has to choose between taking a breath or stabilizing, breathing will win since it’s more important for our immediate survival. This is often what lands patients in our office at Omega Chiropractic Center - Sports Performance & Nutrition with back injuries.

If you haven’t read anything up until this point, at least take away this message. Shallow breathing uses muscles in your chest, neck, and upper back, making them chronically tight and leading to imbalances and discomfort. When you’re doing your foam rolling and stretching, breathe with your diaphragm -- this will allow your body to shift from a state of stress to a state of relaxation, and your muscles can finally release all that tension. Sometimes it’s the simple things that really are the most important…!!

For more information call our team at Omega Chiropractic Center - Sports Performance & Nutrition in Apex today!

7:00am - 12:00pm
2:00pm - 6:30pm

7:00am - 2:00pm

7:00am - 12:00pm
2:00pm - 6:30pm

7:00am - 12:00pm
2:00pm - 6:30pm

7:00am - 2:00pm


Omega Chiropractic Center -
Sports Performance & Nutrition

2521 Schieffelin Road #130
Apex, NC 27502
(919) 267-9771