15 Feb Breathe Yourself Healthy
Specific breathing techniques (along with cold exposure) provides us a cardio workout – so basically, it’s the perfect way to keep healthy (and of course fit), especially if you’re anything like me and never go to a gym (either because you can never be bothered, or just don’t like them in general (both apply to me).
The way we breathe has an impact on many aspects of our life, it affects us physically, mentally and emotionally. Whenever we want to make changes to our lifestyle, rarely do we think to first consider changing our breath, instead we may look first at our diet, or the amount of exercise we’re doing – and though these things are a brilliant way to help us to get healthier, if the breath isn’t considered, then you may not be seeing the changes you’d like to see. Let me remind you that we can live for around 3 weeks without food, 3 days without water, but only minutes without the breath – yet the breath is rarely taken into consideration at all.
What can I do to breathe in a more optimal way?
Start noticing your breath, become conscious of it often throughout the day, consider switching to nasal breathing (if you’re currently a mouth breather) this means breathing in and out via the nose. Also, it’s good to sit with a timer and see how many times you breathe per minute (though this isn’t an accurate test as automatically when we become conscious of our breath we tend to slow it down) – the most optimal way of breathing would consist of around 6-10 breaths per minute (inhale to the count of 4 and exhale for the count of 6 with a brief pause at the end of the exhale).
If you find you are breathing around 14 breaths per minute and above, it can be a sign that you’re living in stress mode.
So what are the benefits of nasal breathing?
- warms and humidifies inhaled air which protects the lungs in cold/dry environments
- produces nitric oxide which helps the O2 get deep into the tissue
- natural defence against bacteria
- calms the nervous system
- prevents dehydration
- nasal breathing takes the breath into the diaphragm (which is exactly where it should be going)
- Boosts the immune system
When we breathe through the mouth it can have a massive impact on us, so much so that it can even influence the structure of the face and spine (and not in a good way either).
If you’d like to explore this further then join me at one of my upcoming workshops, where we go into the science and explore the breath on a deeper level along with the benefits of cold exposure. Click here to find an upcoming workshop.
If you aren’t so interested in the science behind it, but prefer to experience the power of the breath, then either join me online or at the beach for a guided breathwork session. Click here for upcoming online classes as well as guided sessions at the beach.