Getting into good shape and maintaining health calls for more than just eating a smart diet and exercising regularly. While these are staples you should pay attention to, it’s also important to just relax … and breathe!

Deep breathing exercises are an excellent way to reduce stress and increase oxygen levels in the blood and cells. Even one minute of deep breathing every hour can help keep your stress level down and your cells healthier.

If you’ve never tried deep breathing before, it’s easier than you think! Here’s a step-by-step you can do virtually anywhere at any time sitting, standing up or even laying down:

  1. Get into a comfortable position – If at all possible, try to sit down in a comfortable chair and be sure to sit up straight. Close your eyes and relax.
  2. Breathe in deeply – Just take as deep a breath as you are comfortable with and hold it for at least 5 seconds.
  3. Let it out slowly – When you exhale, be sure to do it slowly. Try to count down another 5 seconds on the exhale if at all possible.
  4. Rinse and repeat – Just spend about a minute every hour doing this to increase your exchange of carbon dioxide for oxygen. Doing so can lower your blood pressure, alleviate a little stress and even help improve your cell health over the long run.

Other Ways of Relaxing

If you like the effects just a simple deep breathing exercise has on your outlook and your fitness level, consider working more in-depth exercises into the mix. Full-blown mediation or deep breathing mixed with positive visualization can also be extremely helpful for your stress levels and peace of mind.

Other Ways to Increase Health

Deep breathing is a great way to target cell health and stress reduction, but it won’t keep you in great shape all on its own. In order to reap the full benefits, it’s also important to:

  • Eat a healthy diet that’s rich in fresh, raw foods and balanced meals. Try to avoid any times that are processed or fried as much as possible. Fresh fruits, grains and vegetables are often the best choices. Make sure meats are lean and don’t overlook the value of nuts, too!
  • Work out – You’re never too old or too far behind the health curve to start working out. If you’re not sure where to start, just visit your local gym or fitness center. The experts and personal trainers are these locations can help you create a plan that’s right for you and your health. Just remember to breathe!