As promised, here is part two of OSA exercises.
Though this may sound surprising, singing is one of the best ways to exercise and strengthen your throat muscles, including your vocal cords, the strongest muscle in the throat. But then, this is not like singing leisurely while taking a shower!
Singing exercises for sleep apnea involve singing some special sounds and tunes that primarily focus on the movements of the soft palate, palatopharyngeal arch, tongue and nasopharynx.
This type of workout is best for toning the lax muscles of the upper throat.
The goal of singing exercises is to tone the soft palate, tongue, and throat muscles so that they do not collapse or vibrate during sleep.
Singing exercises are fun to do. And your vocal chords will love you even if you do sing off-key – because your vocal cords don’t have ears!
Easy Singing Exercise:
1. Sit or stand in a comfortable position with your back straight.
2. Say the syllables “Ung-gah” in a singing tone. Your soft palate will move down to touch the back of the tongue on the first syllable and then move up and away on the second syllable.
3. Continue to sing these syllables energetically for a few minutes at a time, several times a day.
The didgeridoo is a long, wooden instrument created by indigenous Australians more than a millennium ago.
Though simple in design, it requires some skill to play. When you learn to play the didgeridoo, using what’s called “circular breathing”, you strengthen the muscles of your upper airway.
The goal of a didgeridoo exercise routine is to dilate your airway and stiffen the airway walls, and develop muscle tone and control.
Circular Breathing Didgeridoo Exercise:
1. Sit comfortably in a chair with the didgeridoo resting on the floor between your feet.
2. Inflate your cheeks with air, then place your lips firmly around the tip of the didgeridoo so that the air remains in your mouth.
3. Inhale and exhale slowly through your nose several times until you feel the separate actions of breathing through your nose and maintaining a supply of air in your mouth. Relax.
4. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your lips into the didgeridoo while maintaining both a firm lip hold on the instrument’s tip and keeping your cheeks puffed out.
5. Continue with this circular breathing pattern throughout the exercise. This pattern is the key to playing the instrument as it allows the continuous droning sound to stay unbroken. Initially, you may only be able to make a squeaking sound.
But, with practice, you’ll blend the two motions into one circular breathing cycle that will strengthen your mouth and lung muscles.
There are two types of yoga exercises for sleep apnea: breathing exercises and exercises for weight loss. As a stress reducer, yoga improves the quality and quantity of sleep by improving your breathing.
a) Yoga breathing exercises for sleep apnea involve breathing deeply, sitting in the right posture, and gaining an increase in the oxygen levels in your blood.
This then improves your metabolism, boosts your energy levels, and helps your body release toxins.
b) If obesity or overweight is the root cause of your sleep apnea, yoga exercises (along with diet management) can help you with weight loss.
You’ll also improve several physical and emotional aspects of your life that contribute to sleep apnea disturbances.
Easy Yoga Breathing Exercise:
The goal of this exercise is to enhance your lung capacity, tone your upper airway, and alleviate throat blockages.
1. Sit in a cross-legged position on the floor, place your feet on the opposite thighs, and keep your upper body straight.
2. Relax in this position, closing your eyes, and breathing deeply through both nostrils.
3. As you inhale, contract your neck muscles and make a soft, low grunting sound.
4. Hold your breath for as long as you can.
5. Use a finger to close one of your nostrils while you exhale out of the other nostril.
6. Repeat steps 2-5 above reversing the open and closed nostrils.
7. Repeat the entire process for several minutes, 3 to 5 times a day.
■ Buteyko Breathing Technique for Sleep Apnea
The Buteyko breathing method is a dynamic and potentially beneficial exercise for all sleep disorder sufferers over the age of four.
The method was developed in Russia during the 1950s by Dr. Konstantin Buteyko and was initially intended for asthma sufferers.
The basis of the Buteyko technique is to help people with chronic hyperventilation relearn how to breathe through their noses in a manner that calms the respiratory system and produces quality sleep.
While there haven’t been any widely acknowledged clinical trials of the Buteyko method, but the Buteyko Institute of Breathing and Health, headquartered in Australia, has published a list of doctor testimonials.
This same organization published a sleep apnea and breathing retraining survey of 1100 participants, with a finding that 95 percent of apnea sufferers in the group had improved sleep.
Buteyko Nose Breathing Exercise:
If you can’t locate a Buteyko clinic or instructor, and you want to try one of the nose breathing exercises, here are a few tips:
1. Sit comfortably in a chair, with your feet flat on the floor.
2. Breathe in slowly and gently, no exaggerated inhales.
3. Hold your breath for a few seconds.
4. Exhale slowly and gently.
5. Repeat steps 2-4 for a period of 3 minutes.
1. As you become accustomed to this exercise, try to hold, or control pause, your breathing for more time before exhaling. When you start to feel uncomfortable, exhale slowly. This method can be used with yoga relaxation exercises.
2. Remembering to breathe through your nose is easier if you place your tongue against the roof of your mouth, with the tip of your tongue touching the back of your teeth.
۞ Your Personalized Sleep Apnea Exercise Program
And remember: no matter which exercises you select, your personal program should be balanced so that you’re working to improve all of your relevant respiratory muscles.
Just like the old-time Life cereal commercial stated: Try it, you’ll like it!
Re-Edited by Bill Bistak B Sc.,SEO/SEM Spc, CRT
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