How to Breathe Better This Milwaukee Winter

Breathe. It‘s important.

Most of us don’t think about breathing unless we’re choking on a piece of ham. But proper breathing is crucial for our physical and mental health, according to Jim Morningstar, a Milwaukee-based clinical psychologist and co-director of the Global Professional Breathwork Alliance.

“Improper breathing weakens and harms almost every major system in our body and makes us more susceptible to diseases of all kinds,” he says.

Check whether you’re breathing properly by laying one hand over your abdomen and one over your chest. Inhale deeply; and see how much your abdomen and chest move. Your abdomen should expand outward; if it moves inward, that is reverse breathing, and it is problematic. A healthy breath moves the diaphragm, the intercostal muscles around the ribs and, almost imperceptibly, the shoulders.

“It’s a two-cycle process,” he says. “In a full breath, your entire torso is moving.”

One beneficial breathing exercise to try is slowing your breath to around five to six times a minute, being mindful to breathe into your diaphragm.

“It puts the rhythm of the heart and brain in sync,” says Morningstar.

This Story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s 2020 Winter Playbook

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Archer is the managing editor at Milwaukee Magazine. Some say he is a great warrior and prophet, a man of boundless sight in a world gone blind, a denizen of truth and goodness, a beacon of hope shining bright in this dark world. Others say he smells like cheese.