Breathing after COVID-19: tips and exercises for a healthy lung function

Breathing after COVID-19: tips and exercises for a healthy lung function

Written by: Stefanie Broes



Time to read 3 min

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2019, this disease has caused several negative impacts both mentally and physically. A study shows that some (especially young adults and single people) suffered from loneliness, sadness, anxiety and stress. Generally, they also ate unhealthier and moved less. So for these reasons, it can be said that COVID-19 had a huge mental impact on people.

Physically, the recovery from COVID-19 can also take a long time and long-lasting symptoms may persist, including breathing problems. After recovery from COVID-19, it is important to pay attention to breathing correctly. This article aims to understand how COVID-19 affects the respiratory system, the benefits of good breathing techniques and which practical breathing exercises you can try at home.


The effects of COVID-19 on your breathing

According to Longfonds and Dr Monique Reijers of Radboud UMC, COVID-19 can affect the airways and lungs and lead to breathing problems such as coughing, mucus, shortness of breath, and chest and back pain. You may also have trouble controlling your breathing when you exert yourself or even when you talk. Symptoms range from mild to severe and may even persist for a long time after recovering from COVID-19. Long-term symptoms after COVID-19 are also called long covid. According to research, the most common symptoms after three months are fatigue, shortness of breath and chest pain. It is not yet proven why breathing problems persist for some people after the recovery of COVID-19.

The benefits of good breathing techniques

Good breathing techniques can improve the respiratory system and help reduce breathing problems in both the short and long term.

Short-term benefits:

  • Reducing shortness of breath: Breathing exercises can help reduce shortness of breath, which is a common symptom of long covid.
  • Reducing stress and anxiety: Doing breathing exercises regularly can have a calming effect and can therefore help reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Improving sleep: Breathing exercises can help improve sleep quality and regulate the sleep cycle, allowing people to wake up feeling more refreshed.

Long-term benefits:

  • Improving lung function: Doing regular breathing exercises can train the lungs to work more efficiently, which can improve lung function.
  • Boosting the immune system: Breathing exercises can help boost the immune system and increase resistance to diseases.
  • Reducing the chances of relapse: Doing regular breathing exercises can help your body recover from COVID-19 and reduce the chances of a relapse.

Deep breathing and diaphragmatic breathing are two techniques that can help strengthen respiratory muscles and increase lung capacity. Besides breathing exercises, it is also important to keep moving. Yoga and other activities can help with this. If this is difficult because of your symptoms, it is best to start slowly.

Breathing techniques to try at home

There are several breathing exercises you can try at home to improve your breathing. Deep breathing and diaphragmatic breathing are two techniques that can be easily used in everyday life:

  • Deep breathing is a simple technique that involves inhaling deeper than you usually do. This gets more oxygen into the lungs and reduces the heart rate. It can help you relax and reduce stress.
  • Diaphragmatic breathing is a technique where you breathe from your abdomen instead of your chest. You inhale deeply and fill your belly first and then your lungs with air. This makes you use the diaphragm, a muscle under your lungs, more and makes your breathing more efficient. This technique can help reduce tension in your shoulders and neck.

There are also simple yoga poses aimed at improving breathing, such as the Cobra Pose and the Child Pose.

When practising breathing techniques, it is important to listen to your body and seek medical help if you experience breathing problems. Some conditions, such as asthma and COPD, require changes to breathing exercises.

How can moonbird help?

To help you, we created moonbird, a physical, handheld breathing guide. Moonbird expands and contracts in your hand. Simply follow its rhythm with your breathing, and you'll be more relaxed in just a few minutes. We also provide real-time biofeedback via the moonbird app so you can see the impact of the exercises on your body.

By combining intuitive breathing guidance with biofeedback, moonbird helps you connect your mind and body and calm down, or fall asleep fast. Whenever, wherever.

Try moonbird for 30 days risk-free, with no obligation. You only pay when you decide to keep your moonbird. The most important thing for us is that moonbird really works for you.


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