Chiropractor Explains: Breathing Is Easier in an Upright Position
In addition to exercises for improving breathing, sitting the right way can give your lungs space and support them as they work. By allowing more oxygen into your body, you’ll be more invigorated all day long!
As a general rule, you can breathe easier while sitting when your hips are above the knees and they are at their highest point on the floor without putting your feet on the ground. Sitting in this position increases lung vital capacity and increases lung compliance.
In this article, I will discuss why sitting properly can help your breathing. Having worked in pulmonary medicine, chiropractic, and ergonomics, I can offer a unique perspective on this topic from a structural and physiological perspective.
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Does Sitting Position Affect Breathing?
In order to get the best breathing pattern possible, make sure you have a good posture. Poor posture also leads to difficulty breathing and can cause problems with your airways due to tightened muscles around your chest area.
How Does Upright Posture Make Breathing Easier?
Have you ever wondered why your lungs can’t move the air by themselves? Well, it’s because they’re not muscles! So in order to keep breathing properly and get enough oxygen into our body, we need help from other parts of the body. That is where breath instruction comes in – helping us figure out which muscles should be used so that we are able to expand our lungs and draw more air inside them.
Breathing is a process that we can control by using various muscles in our bodies. The help of these muscle groups will depend on which exercise you are doing and what your goal for breathing might be, but the basic rule is this: use as few neck muscles to breathe with as possible because they do not have much power behind them. If you want more airflow into your lungs then it’s best to expand all of the major chest cavity parts like ribs, upper backbones (or thoracic spine), shoulder blades, collarbones or clavicles-not just one!
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The Best Way to Sit for Better Breathing
Thankfully, poor or slouched posture is easily corrected. In this case, we want to increase your lung volumes (vital capacity).
When you’re sitting, your hips should be higher than your knees. Otherwise, it could result in bad circulation and abdominal pressure rising up too high. Now think about bending your legs at the right angle: The knees should always be over the ankles for less pain when walking or standing!
You may have heard that sitting up straight will increase pressure on your lungs, but this isn’t true. When you sit with good posture the opposite happens and thoracic pressure is actually reduced! I explain this concept on a TV show HERE!
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How? Well as I’m sure you know from looking at my diagram below when your trunk-to-thigh ratio increases it reduces spinal and abdominal pressures, which means not only do these pressures come down in proportion to one another but also because of how their position changes. The pelvis tilts forward pushing against the pelvic floor muscles so there’s less weight over them too-which leads to a comparative negative change in the back or abdomen.
When my patients experience breathing difficulties while sitting, a seat cushion can often be a helpful solution. An ergonomically designed seat cushion can provide extra comfort and support while also helping to relieve pressure on the thoracic area. I was surprised how similar cheap memory foam seat cushions were on Aliexpress from the listing on Amazon!
What Happens to Lung & Respiratory Capacity in Supine Position?
When you lie on your back, gravity and other forces push against your lungs. This can make it hard for air to get in or out of them because they’re compressed at different angles. When this happens, there’s more room inside some parts of the lung than others – which means that when we breathe in our chest is going up but not down as much; meanwhile, some people end up with their alveoli collapsing (atelectasis) while those near the top are being “squeezed” so it’s harder to take a deep breath.
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Can Tight Neck Muscles Cause Breathing Problems?
The diaphragm is just one of the amazing parts of your body that help you breathe. It has two attachments, and it can be affected by postural changes like if you have a neck issue or anything else on top of that. If this happens, then breathing might become difficult as well!
Can Prolonged Sitting Cause Breathing Problems?
When you sit in a slouched sitting position, your vital capacity is reduced. Your breathing will likely be shallow and less frequent because the diaphragm goes limp when it’s compressed by gravity – which happens more often with a slumped posture. It won’t take long for this habit to cause serious health problems if you don’t stop!
I’ve written a complete hands-on review about why your stomach is flat until you sit down and here are some of the shocking issues that I ran into in this post!
Why Is It Harder to Breathe When Sitting Down?
If you find yourself struggling to breathe when you’re sitting down, it may be time for a doctor’s visit. The medical term is orthopnea and the potential causes of this can include congestive heart failure, obesity or respiratory issues.
What Is Fowler’s Position Used For?
What is the most natural position for your lungs to operate in? An upright sitting position, also known as Fowler’s Position. And why should you care about this seemingly insignificant detail? Your lung health can affect everything from asthma levels and circulation flow rate all the way up to kidney function!
The Muscles That Make Breathing Difficult
Understanding how your breathing is connected to the rest of your body will help you understand why it’s so important. Your voice box and throat muscles control what comes out when we talk, but our lungs are also involved in getting air into them too.
Let me explain: The diaphragm separates the abdomen from the chest cavity where two large organs reside-the heart and lungs. The intercostal muscle helps pull in a breath through the expansion of these ribcage layers which then expands with inhaled air as a vacuum providing oxygen for blood cells that feed every cell throughout our entire bodies!
The Best Way to Breathe
Take a comfy position and close your mouth. Breathe through your nose, and pull air down into the bottom of your stomach when you inhale. When it’s time to exhale let out all the breath very slowly until there is no more left inside of me!
Learn how to sit more ergonomically and improve your breathing. If you struggle with lung function, sitting at the right height can make all the difference. By following these simple guidelines for proper posture while seated in a chair or on the floor, you’ll breathe easier without any extra effort!
Let me know if we can help you determine what would be best for your situation by leaving a comment below or contacting our team of experts. I have an extensive blog that includes everything from exercises to increase lung capacity, as well as other information about good health habits like maintaining hydration throughout the day.
- Randtke, M.A., Andrews, B.P. and Mach, W.J., 2015. Pathophysiology and prevention of intraoperative atelectasis: a review of the literature. Journal of Perianesthesia Nursing, 30(6), pp.516-527.
- De Troyer, A., Sampson, M., Sigrist, S. and Macklem, P.T., 1981. The diaphragm: two muscles. Science, 213(4504), pp.237-238.
- Allen, S.M., Hunt, B. and Green, M., 1985. Fall in vital capacity with posture. British journal of diseases of the chest, 79, pp.267-271.