Deep Breathe Your Way to Smaller Jeans

August 2, 2013
deep breathing: meditation picture

If you’ve been stressing out about losing weight, take a breather—or 10. Completing a series of deep breaths multiple times before and after consuming a sugary drink can improve your body’s blood-sugar response, according to a new study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. The researchers aren’t sure why, but deep breathers saw significantly slower increases in blood sugar compared to a control group that didn’t practice the relaxation technique.

How might this affect your weight? Dramatic blood-sugar spikes are quickly followed by accompanying lows, which can leave you shaky, irritable, and hungry for more sugary, pound-packing treats. What’s more, over time, high blood-sugar levels—and frequent blood-sugar surges—can contribute to insulin resistance, a condition that’s linked to obesity, diabetes and heart disease.


The waist-whittling benefits of relaxing breaths may also extend beyond blood-sugar control: A recent American Heart Association study found that high-school students who practiced pranayama, a form of yoga that involves meditative breathing, reduced their body mass indexes—a measure of body fat based on height and weight—by 5.7 percent, compared to a control group that saw a slight BMI increase.

Want to incorporate relaxing breaths into your daily routine? Watch this video of study coauthor Daniel Wilson, explaining the breathing exercise his team used for their research. Although participants repeated the exercise every 10 minutes for 30 minutes before and 90 minutes after downing a sugar-packed beverage, the growing body of research connecting relaxation with healthier hearts and lighter bodies suggests that any amount of focused breathing could play an important role in your journey to good health.

—Written by Cathryne Keller, Fitbie Contributor

Up Next: Breathe Your Way to a Better Day