Due to the current SARS Covid-19 pandemic, breathing is important now more than ever. A technique called proning is being advised by experts in the UK. Here is a similar exercise which can be used at home by those who are generally fit and healthy.
Below are simple (and slightly adapted*) instructions from a video by Dr Sarfaraz Munshi at Queen's Hospital in London:
Take 5 deep breaths & hold your breath for 5 seconds each time
On the 6th breath, cough (away from others) without straining yourself
Repeat this cycle once more (a total of 2 times)
Now comfortably lie down on your front (prone position) & take slightly deeper breaths for 10 minutes
*If possible, breathe in/out through your nose as nasal breathing produces Nitric Oxide, which is anti-viral. Breathe deeply into your stomach/abdomen (as opposed to your chest) as diaphragmatic breathing oxygenates your body more effectively and should lead to greater relaxation.
As most of our lungs' surface area is on our back, proning may lead to better oxygenation of the body. However, do not try lying on your front if you are pregnant, elderly, or weak and have problems with mobility.
In addition to healthy eating, exercise and lots of rest, breathing techniques may help lower stress levels during these troubling times. While there is no scientific evidence to suggest breathing exercises will help those with coronavirus, providing people with a sense of control - however illusionary or placebo - may help immensely. Breathing techniques won't stop someone getting covid-19 but can assist physical and mental health. Furthermore, worrying too much in itself will only raise anxiety, negatively impacting one’s immune system.
Please note: this post is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you suspect you may have any kind of infection, follow your government's guidelines and seek medical help when necessary.