Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death globally, taking an estimated 17.9 million lives each year, as per World Health Organization. Moreover, heart disease and many of the contributing factors — high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, smoking, physical inactivity and alcohol dependence — are related to chronic stress.

We all know that walking, jogging or other aerobic exercises are key to heart health, but did you know that something you already do thousands of times each day can help, too? Any guesses?

Breathing! One of the most effective techniques for immediate stress relief is deep breathing. Several studies have shown how deep breathing can slow your heart rate and reduce blood pressure. This kind of breathing stimulates the vagus nerve, which reduces the “fight or flight” response that causes feelings of anxiety or tension. This gives you a chance to manage those feelings and your stress levels, allowing you to calm yourself down easily in just a few moments.

Deep breaths help oxygenate your muscles and can improve your circulation, lower your blood pressure, enhance your mental outlook, improve the quality of your airways and even strengthen your bones. So what are you waiting for? Step out in the garden for some fresh air or find a peaceful spot indoors to completely relax and try these easy and effective breathing exercises for a healthy heart.

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