The Steps Exercise - great for children with asthma
The Steps Exercise is a beneficial technique within the Buteyko Breathing Method that combines walking with breath holds.
This exercise helps improve breath control and enhances respiratory efficiency. By gradually challenging your breath-holding capacity while walking, you can promote a deeper connection with your breath and foster better respiratory health.
This is the exercise that is of most benefit to children.
How to perform the exercise
- Find a Safe and Quiet Area: Choose a comfortable and safe location for walking, either outdoors or in a spacious indoor space.
- Maintain Nasal Breathing: Throughout the exercise, focus on breathing exclusively through your nose. Nasal breathing helps filter, warm, and moisturise the air, benefiting your respiratory system.
- Start Walking: Begin walking at a relaxed and steady pace. Allow your breath to be natural.
- Take a Calm Breath: After a few minutes of walking, take a calm and gentle breath in through your nose.
- Breath Hold: After your inhalation, hold your breath gently, without straining or causing discomfort. Keep your mouth closed and pinch your nose closed during the breath hold.
- Continue Walking: While holding your breath, continue walking at the same pace for a comfortable distance or duration, say 5-10 paces.
- Exhale and Breathe Normally: Release your breath hold and inhale gently. Resume normal breathing through your nose.
- Rest and Repeat: Take a few moments to rest – about 30 seconds is often adequate – and allow your breath to stabilise. Repeat the exercise by taking a calm breath in and initiating another breath hold while walking.
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Benefits of the exercise
- Breath Control: The Steps Exercise helps in improving breath control and enhances your ability to manage your breathing during physical activities.
- Respiratory Efficiency: By incorporating breath holds while walking, you can optimise respiratory efficiency and enhance oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange in the body.
- Mindful Awareness: Practicing the Steps Exercise fosters a deeper connection with your breath and body, promoting mindful awareness and relaxation.
- Avoid Overexertion: Walk at a pace that feels comfortable for you. Do not push yourself beyond your limits.
- Gradual Progression: If you are new to breath holds or have any respiratory conditions, start with shorter durations and gradually increase as you feel more at ease.
- Listen to Your Body: If you feel lightheaded or uncomfortable during the exercise, stop and resume normal breathing.