Can Breathing Exercises Help You Lose Weight?

Breathing exercises have been used to promote health in Eastern cultures for thousands of years so could they help you?


In recent years, several studies have found that breathing exercises may help reduce stress levels and improve attention and emotional well-being.

What’s more, some claim that adding breathing exercises to your routine may aid weight loss and boost fat burning.

So let’s look at some of the science behind breathing exercises to see whether they work for weight loss.

What are breathing exercises?

Breathing exercises are a simple practice that involves minimising external distractions and paying closer attention to your breathing.

Studies show that breathing exercises may be associated with several potential health benefits, including decreased anxiety and improved attention levels and sleep quality.

There are numerous types of breathing exercises, including:

Deep breathing. This form of breathing exercise involves taking a deep breath, holding it for a few seconds, and then releasing it slowly.

Several studies have found that practicing breathing exercises may promote weight loss and decrease body fat.

Alternate nostril breathing. With this exercise, you practice inhaling and exhaling through alternating nostrils by using your fingers to close one side at a time.
Pursed lip breathing. This type of breathing practice involves inhaling through your nostrils and exhaling slowly through pursed lips.

Additionally, an 8-week study showed that practicing breathing exercises for 45 minutes daily 3 times per week significantly reduced body weight and body mass index (BMI), compared with a control group.

Diaphragmatic breathing. Also known as belly breathing, this variation requires you to lie down, place your hands on your upper chest and rib cage, and exhale through pursed lips as you tighten your stomach muscles.

In a small study in 38 people, those who participated in a diaphragmatic breathing exercise experienced a higher resting metabolic rate, which may lead to increased weight loss.

Senobi. This Japanese style of deep breathing involves leaning back, stretching your arms overhead, and inhaling and exhaling slowly several times.

One study in 40 women noted that practicing Senobi increased both the excretion of hormones through the urine and sympathetic nerve activity, which is responsible for your body’s “fight or flight” response.

What’s more, participants with obesity who repeated the exercise regularly for 1 month experienced a significant reduction in body fat.

Although each style has slight variations in terms of how it’s practiced, all forms are used to help promote relaxation and relieve stress by bringing your focus to the present moment.

Helpful information: 

There are a number of factors linked to dealing with weight loss, and stress and anxiety can often lead to comfort eating. Anything that can help reduce those two factors will inevitably help with weight loss.

Hormone balance is another key element, as oestrogen dominance is certainly linked to increased weight gain – in particular around the stomach.

Combining hormone balance with a healthy diet specifically for this type of weight loss, add in some breathing exercises and you definitely have a positive plan.