New Year’s Challenge: Try Mindful Deep Breathing

By the Editors of SilverSneakers |

Improve focus and boost energy with deep breathing. Today’s activity is a mindfulness technique that’s easy to learn and has lasting benefits.

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When was the last time you took a few minutes to breathe deeply in a way that felt nourishing and calming, yet also energizing? If it’s been a while — or possibly you’ve never tried it — here’s your chance to find out why it’s so valuable.

Deep breathing may not seem like a fitness activity, but it can go a long way toward creating a mentally stronger you. Research published in the journal Scientific Reports found that just one session of deep and slow breathing provided stress reduction for both younger and older adults alike.

Emotional well-being and fitness go together! With SilverSneakers, you can choose from dozens of different Community classesvisit a participating fitness location, or join one of 20+ SilverSneakers LIVE online classesCheck your eligibility here

How to Use Mindful Deep Breathing to Relieve Stress

Today’s activity has SilverSneakers trainer Shannon Thigpen guiding you through a simple mindfulness breathing technique that can have lasting effects in only a few minutes. Most of all, this can help you create a habit of breathing deeper in everyday activities, which can be good for your focus and energy.

Before you press play to follow along with Thigpen, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Find a comfortable, quiet place to sit or lie down
  • Begin by breathing normally and observing your natural breath pattern
  • Gradually begin to take slower, deeper breaths — inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth
  • Next, begin to breathe very fully into your belly — imagine you’re sending your breath directly into your belly
  • Then focus on exhaling completely
  • Spend a few moments taking very intentional deep, but gentle, breaths

Once you’re comfortable with the intentional breathing, you can try a counting pattern where the exhale is longer than the inhale:

  • Inhale slowly through the nose for two to four counts (or a length that’s comfortable for you)
  • Exhale slowly through the mouth for four to six counts (or a length that’s comfortable for you)
  • Repeat for one to three minutes

“Don’t give up! Deep belly breathing gets easier with practice,” says Thigpen.

Love this and want more? Take a SilverSneakers Yoga Class!

SilverSneakers offers three types of yoga classes that are designed for older adults:

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SilverSneakers Yoga is a 45-minute class that is truly beginner friendly. You’ll be guided through a series of seated and standing yoga poses designed to increase flexibility, balance, and range of motion. It makes a great complement to an active lifestyle, or as a way to gently ease into movement — no matter your goals. It’s offered both in-person at participating SilverSneakers fitness locations (review the gym’s schedule for exact times), or online with SilverSneakers LIVE.

SilverSneakers Yoga Flow is a 45-minute advanced class that is for those who are more familiar with yoga. You’ll move your body through mat-based flowing yoga postures to increase strength, flexibility, and breath awareness. It’s offered online with SilverSneakers LIVE.

SilverSneakers Yoga Pilates Fusion combines the best of yoga, Pilates, and barre in a 30–45-minute mind-body mat workout. You’ll build endurance and flexibility. It’s offered both in-person at participating fitness locations (review the gym’s schedule for exact times) and online with SilverSneakers LIVE.

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