How Your Breath Can Affect Cold Hands & Feet, From An Expert

Of course, breathing patterns aren’t the only reason for cold extremities. There are a host of reasons why your fingers and toes feel icy (a thyroid imbalance could be another culprit, for example), but focusing on your breath is a rather low-lift experiment to try. To that end, McKeown shares a couple of ways to strengthen your breathing and warm you up.

First and foremost, nasal breathing is essential: “When you’re a mouth-breather, you typically breathe faster through the upper chest,” he says. Whereas nasal breathing and nitric oxide help chauffeur oxygen and nutrients to your cells. McKeown even saw personal success with this simple shift: “I noticed I could bring increased temperature into my hands,” he says.

Or, he notes, you can opt for specific breath exercises: “Put one hand on your chest and one hand just above your navel and gently start slowing down the speed of your breathing,” he explains. Focus on the airflow coming into the nose and having a really relaxed, slow, gentle exhalation.” The feeling of air hunger, or the desire to inhale once again, “signifies that carbon dioxide has increased in the blood,” says McKeown. This may help your extremities feel warmer.

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