Just last night, I was doing some stretching before bed and made a surprise discovery. I’ve recently readopted the habit for about an hour or so before bed because it helps me get a really good night’s sleep. While I was stretching I noticed that I had a lot of tension in areas I hadn’t noticed before. These areas were around my ribs.When I would get into some of my stretching positions, as I breathed I would feel tiny muscles in between and around my ribs strain a little. These have obviously been tight for quite a while, but I hadn’t noticed it until just then.
This tightness was making it impossible for me to really expand my rib cage and take a nice deep breath. Had this been impairing my ability to breath all this time? This was especially surprising because I have spent a lot of time making sure I use effective breathing rather than shallow chest breathing.
After some more time experimenting I discovered that, especially in certain positions, this issue was greatly limiting my breathing ability. In some positions I could manage little better than a very shallow breath.
So my new solution to this problem is to spend a little extra time in any position I end up in while stretching, and randomly throughout the day, and spend a few minutes taking the biggest, deepest breaths I can muster. This really helps me stretch and utilize the muscles that expand my ribs. Muscle that I have apparently not really been using.
A side benefit I discovered doing this is that the stretch will spread into my abs, neck, and in some cases even my back. If this goes well, maybe I’ll even add in some diaphragm training regularly to improve my ability to intake air!