Naturally, some of the activities that I am going to suggest are for everyone and some are for us lazy people. Diaphragmatic breathing is one of those exercises that is more fundamental for anyone over 35-40 years old. It is when you reach that age that you begin to have weight problems and even if you don’t, it is when the belly begins to appear. When this happens many of us kill ourselves with diets and abdominal workouts, with no apparent effect at all.

The problem is that practically no exercise can really reduce your expanding mid-region, and what is worse, nobody is telling us how we can fight it.

The fact is that in general we eat too much food and drink too much liquid at the wrong time. That is why our internal organs, especially the stomach and the intestine become deformed and get bigger.

Like I said before, you have to exercise moderation in the amount of food you eat and not drink too much liquid after eating. When you finish eating, especially if you’ve had copious amounts of food, your stomach is blocked by the food and if you drink liquids, especially in abundance, the same thing happens to you as would happen to a blow up doll that has been overinflated. When you release some of the air you will see that it’s become deformed. It is exactly this reason, aside from drinking water more than anything else, that my recommendation is that you drink before you eat, at least a quarter hour beforehand in order not to stop the gastric juices before and during the meal; and a couple of hours afterwards too. If you follow this recommendation you will stop placing excessive strain on your stomach. Bear in mind that it has been under strain for years, and is therefore possibly already deformed, and not just your stomach but also the intestines, liver, pancreas and the majority of your internal organs. If this is the case now is the time to talk about diaphragmatic breathing, because it is practically the only exercise that works your internal organs and therefore can help reduce your belly.

There are a few different diaphragmatic breathing exercises. I personally recommend the following: in the first place get comfortable, lying on your back or sitting relaxed. You can put your hands on your stomach to control its movement. When you breathe, you don’t have to move your side. Don’t breathe with your lungs but your abdomen. Breathing in should be relatively short but deep. For example, breathing in count 1, 2. Breathing out should be as long as possible. So that’s breathing in count 1, 2, and breathing out you should count to six in the beginning and then, little by little increase this time to the maximum possible, for example until 20 or 30.

During the breathing out you have to feel your stomach deflate and try, while you are expelling air to pull in your stomach, as close to the spinal cord as possible, trying to breathe out for longer and longer each time. It’s very important to remember this feeling of contracting your stomach as much as possible. You can do this while you are walking, doing sports, or at any time, when you remember that you want to be in good shape. In doing this you work your internal organs, helping put things in order.

This is an excerpt from “The Happy Man’s Shirt” by Yuri Chuguyev