Considering we've been breathing since we were born, you'd think we'd all be pros at it. But bad breathing habits can deny your body of the oxygen it needs and leave you vulnerable to illness and stress. Take this short quiz to see if you've developed bad breathing habits.

  1. Time yourself for one minute, breathing as you normally would, and count your breaths. How many breaths did you take in one minute?
    1. 14 to 16
    2. More than 16 or fewer than 14
  2. Place one hand on your upper chest. Put the other hand on your belly above your waist. Breathe in slowly through your nose. What do you feel?
    1. The hand on my belly moved up, and the hand on my chest stayed put.
    2. The hand on my chest moved up, and the hand on my belly lowered.
  3. Repeat the steps from number 2 and then breathe out slowly through pursed lips. What do you feel?
    1. The hand on my belly lowered.
    2. The hand on my belly moved up.
  4. Breathe as you normally would. Are you...
    1. breathing in through your nose?
    2. breathing in through your mouth?

If you answered "a" to most of the questions, you're a healthy breathing pro! Healthy breathing habits help to keep your body properly oxygenated and working efficiently. If you answered "b" to any of the questions, you could use some breathing lessons. Bad breathing habits can leave you vulnerable to infections and make it harder to deal with stress.

Related links

The bad breathing habits to blow off
Under pressure: facing up to stress
Benefit from yoga
Meditation by the numbers

Amy Toffelmire