By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
September 6, 2017
- Most people don’t know how to breathe properly
- Amazing things can happen when you take a deep breath
- Boost your lung power for a longer and healthier life
Unless you have a lung condition, you probably take breathing for granted. You don’t think about it. It just happens. Breathe in, breathe out. Inhale, exhale. Repeat as necessary.
But did you know that your lungs mature by the time you’re in you early to mid 20’s? Then, by the time you hit the age of 35, their function starts to deteriorate. Over time, you may even find that breathing becomes more difficult.
This can have a huge impact on your health. After all, oxygen fuels all of the tissue, muscles and organs in your body. It’s absolutely necessary for life itself, and you can’t survive without it.
So one of the best things you can do for yourself is find ways to improve your lung health and keep that oxygen flowing throughout your body.
Amazing Things Can Happen When You Learn How to Breathe Properly
Nobody teaches you to breathe. You just do it. And you’re probably doing it all wrong.
You see, most people are “shallow breathers”. They only use the upper part of their lungs when they inhale and exhale. This reduces oxygen saturation throughout the body and does nothing to boost your lung volume.
But there are ways to flood your body with oxygen. One of them is to draw air down into the deepest parts of your lungs with deep breathing exercises. This extra inflow of oxygen nourishes every cell in your body and comes with some pretty amazing benefits.
- Losing weight requires unlocking the carbon stored in fat cells. And guess what? Exhaling rids your body of carbon dioxide. This means that exhaling is a primary function when it comes to getting rid of fat.
- Just 30 seconds of deep breathing can reduce blood pressure by up to 9.6 points on the top (systolic) number, and 10.2 points on the bottom (diastolic).
- If you’re ever in pain, deep breathing may be able to help. This type of breathing increases pain thresholds by influencing nerve activity and pain processing.
- Stress is something we encounter every single day. However, few people take time to actually take control over it. This is a shame, because getting a handle on stress can be as easy as taking part in deep breathing exercises. It not only helps relax you, it also helps lower cortisol (the stress hormone) levels while increasing production of melatonin (the sleep hormone).
Now, when most people think about breathing, they focus on the inhale. After all, bringing air into your body is an urgent consideration. But the exhale is just as important, maybe even more so. That’s because every time you breathe out it pushes toxic carbon dioxide and stale air out of your body.
So here’s a great little breathing exercise.
Inhale slowly through your nose for a count of four. Make sure to draw the air deeply into your diaphragm. Hold it for a count of seven, allowing the air to push against the walls of your lungs and saturate them with oxygen.
Then exhale through pursed lips for a count of eight (longer if you can). It can be helpful if you pull in your belly while exhaling, as it will help force the old air out. The more often you practice this, the stronger your lungs will become.
But for the biggest boost in oxygen levels and lungpower, there’s something that can provide even more dramatic results.
Gain More Lung-Power for Life-Long Health
One of the best ways to get more oxygen-rich blood racing to your lungs, heart, brain and muscles – to enhance weight loss, get your lungs pumping at full speed and build respiratory capacity – is with high intensity interval training (HIIT).
This is the form of exercise I recommend to all of my patients. And it’s the #1 way to re-oxygenate your body.
Getting started is simple. (Just be sure to check with your doctor before starting any type of exercise program, especially if you’ve been sedentary for years and are de-conditioned…you will want to start with shorter times.)
HIIT involves short bursts of high intensity exercise followed by short recovery breaks in between. And it doesn’t matter what condition you’re in to start with.
For example, if you’re out of shape just walk briskly or sprint as fast as you can for 30 – 40 seconds. By this time you should be panting for oxygen, but not desperate for it. It’s this respiratory exchange that rids your body of CO2, refreshes your lungs with much-needed oxygen and increases lung volume.
Take a 2 to 4 minute rest interval of easy walking while you catch your breath. Then repeat 4 to 6 times.
If you’re exceptionally fit, this same type of exercise can be extended to lunges, squats, jumping jacks and other exercises.
The idea is to consistently increase intensity and shorten rest time as your lungs and muscles gain strength.
And believe me! As the years go by, both your lungs and muscles will thank you for it.
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Busch V, et al. The effect of deep and slow breathing on pain perception, autonomic activity, and mood processing–an experimental study. Pain Med. 2012 Feb;13(2):215-28.
Martarelli D, et al. Diaphragmatic Breathing Reduces Exercise-Induced Oxidative Stress. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011; 2011: 932430.