Page 6 - Voice for Life Workbook 4 - Red
P. 6

6 Module A: Using the voice well Red book UK prepress January 2020.indd 6
Your lungs, like your muscles, need exercising so that they can work more efficiently. The following pages explain what happens in your body when you breathe. Understanding this will help you understand how to exercise and develop the muscles and organs that you use for breathing.
 The diaphragm
The diaphragm (say ‘DYE–a–fram’) is a large muscular partition that separates the top half of the body (the chest and lungs) from the bottom half (the abdomen). It is attached to the lower ribs and falls and rises as you breathe.
The diaphragm is the main muscle you use when you breathe in. It draws air into the lungs, providing oxygen to the blood. (You can’t actually feel your diaphragm – you feel the muscles around it moving.)
What happens when you breathe
   When you breathe in, your diaphragm flattens. This pulls the bottom of the lungs down, which makes air rush down your windpipe into your lungs. As your lungs fill with air, they get bigger. Your lower ribs rise slightly, and your waistline gets wider.
When you breathe out, your diaphragm relaxes again, and the muscles in your abdomen push it back to its natural dome–shaped position. This forces air back out of your lungs. Your lungs get smaller again and your waistline gets narrower.
   Can you label this diagram with the words below?
 Lungs Waistline
Which way does your diaphragm move when you breathe in?
When you breathe out, do your lungs get bigger or smaller?
   Another word for breathing in is inhaling. Another word for breathing out is exhaling. If you put your hands gently on your lower ribs, stomach or waist, and breathe slowly, you will feel your muscles moving around your diaphragm. Remember though that you can’t feel the diaphragm itself.

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