Health

Are you breathing correctly? Check now!

It's the one thing that comes naturally to us, but apparently we're doing it wrong!

Learning how to breathe is the latest celebrity trend, reportedly practiced by Oprah and Gwyneth. It’s said that breathing more effectively can change all aspects of your life, helping to reduce stress, aid sleep and improve focus. So we’ve enlisted the help of breath coach Rebecca Dennis to show us how to breathe our way to a better life.

The breathing techniques

  1. BREATH AWARENESS: We are conditioned to hold our bellies in as adults. The best place to start to become aware of your breath is to put one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest. As you inhale, push your belly out. As you exhale, the belly goes in. Lots of people will find that they take ‘vertical breaths’ where their shoulders and ribs move up rather than out. Visualise the breath going in and out, as opposed to up and down.

  2. BOX BREATH: Inhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts and repeat. This technique is used in the SAS for highly stressful situations to focus and tune in with each other.

  3. BREATH OF FIRE: Instead of reaching for a coffee or a sugar hit during your mid-afternoon slump, this technique can help make you feel energised. Breathe in and pull your tummy in. Exhale with short quick emphasised breaths in rounds of 30 continuous breaths whilst still keeping the belly pulled in.

  4. SNIFF, SNIFF, SIGH: Exactly as it sounds, inhale twice through your nose and exhale with a big sigh. Similar to ‘breath of fire’, this technique can help to energise you.

  5. CONSCIOUS, CONNECTIVE BREATHING: This is an advanced breathing technique which is not advised as a starting exercise for those new to breathwork. It involves breathing without any pauses between the inhale and exhale. This is best done lying down and has a very relaxing effect.

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Four simple exercises to ease hip pain

Here are some simple exercises that can help to alleviate the hip pain you might be having both pre and post hip-replacement operation.

Dr Hilary Jones says, "There are exercises that people can do at home to help hip pain, because not everyone needs surgery. If you keep the muscles strong around the joint you may be able to postpone an operation or even avoid an operation".

Exercise one: Leg raise

- Stand up keeping your body tall

- Raise your knee up to the same level as the affected hip

- Hold for 3 seconds and lower back down

- Repeat 10 times 1/ 2 times per day

Exercise two: Side leg raise

- Stand up keeping your body tall

- With your knee straight take the affected leg out to the side, keep the foot pointed forward

- Hold for a count of 3 seconds and return

Exercise three: Prone lying hip extension

- Lie on your stomach keeping your legs straight

- Lift your affected leg towards the ceiling so your knee is not on the bed

- Hold for 5 seconds at the top

Exercise four: Squats

- Stand up and have feet shoulder width apart

- Bend knees into half a squat

- Hold for 3 seconds and come back up

Can our experts help halt that hip pain?

The number of patients having replacement surgery has soared from 6,000 to over 41,000 in less than a decade in Britain.

While many blame the rise in obesity as the cause, even some of our fittest and healthiest can’t escape the hip pain that leads to surgery - and Sir Andy Murray has been forced to undergo surgery which has put his professional tennis career in question.

So just what has he had done? We’ll be finding out from the woman behind the surgery, leading orthopaedic surgeon Sarah Muirhead-Allwood. She’ll be joined alongside Dr Hilary Jones - who today tells us for the first time about his own surgery - and who will be showing us some simple exercises that can help to alleviate hip pain you might be having both pre and post op.