Have you ever noticed how babies breathe when asleep? They lie there so peacefully; their belly rises and falls gently with each breath. Babies instinctively breathe using their diaphragm. This is the primary muscle used in the process of inhalation and exhalation. The diaphragm is a dome-shaped sheet of muscle that is attached to the lower ribs. Located at the base of the chest, it separates the abdominal cavity (stomach, intestines, liver) from the thoracic cavity (heart and lungs).
So, what does breathing like a baby have to do with golf?
Well for starters, breathing through the diaphragm helps get more oxygen into your lungs and will help you stay more relaxed and focused, it has a calming effect.
Over time, aging, fear and stress cause us to hold our breath and we shift from belly breathing to upper chest breathing, which is very inefficient. When we breathe through the upper chest we are not getting as much oxygen into our lungs as with diaphragmatic breathing. We need that oxygen to clean and feed our cells and keep us healthy. As well, the muscles in the upper chest get exhausted and the fascia glues and sticks together, pulling us out of alignment. This then can lead to stiff shoulders, sore neck, headaches and just general lack of energy – all detrimental to the golfer!
Become more familiar with this muscle and how to breathe properly using the diaphragm, it can change your golf and your life! Here is a great short video from Block Therapy that will show you how.
Also, check out this article from Golf Digest on how to breathe better for golf.
Until next time,
Swing with ease, breathe and believe