Breathing correctly increases relaxation and wellbeing

Breathing properly helps you to relax and stay fit

Breathing is one of the functions our body normally carries out automatically, which is why in everyday life we often pay little or no attention to it. This health tip explains some of the benefits of becoming more aware of how we breathe.
On average, we breathe in about 12,000 litres of air per day, mostly without any awareness of doing so. However, the oxygen amount and breathing rate vary greatly, depending on our physical activity. According to the Swiss Lung League we need around 280 litres of oxygen per hour when we sleep. And when we go jogging, the oxygen demand jumps to around 3,600 litres per hour.

Shallow breathing weakens

Especially during sports, we become more aware of our breathing; for example, after a jog in the forest we are likely to be out of breath, causing our lungs to work harder. But also at work or in everyday life in general, we should concentrate on breathing. We often use only the upper half of the torso, and our breathing thus tends to be shallow and weak. This can be due to stress, anxiety or tension. Incorrect breathing can, for example, lead to tension in the upper body, fatigue, headaches or poor concentration.

How to breathe properly?

First and foremost, it's important to make sure we use the entire respiratory system, which means not only the lungs but also the abdomen and diaphragm. To begin, inhale deeply – preferably through the nose, so that the abdomen and chest expand equally. According to the Swiss Lung League, this should take four seconds. The subsequent exhaling should also last at least four seconds, or even longer if possible. Depending on your needs, you can repeat these steps five to ten times, alternately exhaling through the nose, the open mouth, or by using the "lip brake" (making a buzzing bee sound with the lips). Breathing deeply – all the way into the abdominal region and by vibrating during the lip brake – will help you to relax, boost your wellbeing, and relieve tension in the body.

Relaxation and wellbeing

Did you know that under the COMPLETA FORTE, COMPLETA PRAEVENTA and OPTIMA supplementary insurance plans SWICA contributes up to 900 francs towards preventive healthcare relating to relaxation and wellbeing? Learn more at:

*Click here for details about how to participate.

In the event of further health-related questions, SWICA customers can contact the santé24 telemedicine service free of charge on +41 44 404 86 86. A telemedicine practice licence allows santé24 physicians to provide additional medical services in cases that are suited to a telemedicine approach. SWICA customers can also use the BENECURA medical app to carry out a digital SymptomCheck and receive recommendations about what to do next. During a subsequent phone call with santé24, customers can decide for themselves whether to release their information from SymptomCheck to santé24.