Let’s talk about breathing.
As a member of Enhancing Life, I’m sure you’re aware that breathing is a pretty hot topic around the fitness industry and one that we believe is extremely important.
Keep in mind, that the majority of people have never been asked to pay attention to the way they breathe and remain uninformed about the negative side effects of incorrect breathing. As a result, there are millions of people caught in a cycle of chronic hyperventilation everyday without even knowing it! At Enhancing Life, we want all of our clients to be aware that constantly breathing too much and too fast is likely to affect your health and performance. Consider yourselves lucky! 😉
Before I get started, let me ask you this:
Can you even breathe through your nose?
Most of you think it’s common to be stuffed up all of the time. You immediately start shaking your head when I mention you should be able to breathe without your mouth being open.
Just because it’s COMMON, it doesn’t mean it’s NORMAL.
Some people have been able to switch to nasal breathing with little effort, others need to work on it for a while, and a few people have had to get medical attention due to some type of blockage (deviated septum, enlarged adenoids..etc). We’re not diagnosing or treating anyone for anything. What we’re doing is bringing attention to something that maybe hasn’t been brought up before, and connecting you with good information.
Most people have a lack of CO2 in their system, this might sound like a good thing, but, CO2 is actually quite necessary for normal bodily functions. CO2 helps with so many things when it comes to your breathing! It plays a role in vasodilation, bronchodilation, release of oxygen in capillaries and helping oxygen get delivered to vital organs. Your body likes to have a nice balance of CO2 and Oxygen, and when things are out of whack, your system cannot run as efficiently as it should.
Nitric Oxide is the other powerful bronchodilator and vasodilator that people may lack when they’re breathing incorrectly. You can find NO in foods you eat, but, you can also create it when you nasal breathe! Another thing NO is known for is being lethal to viruses and bacteria, which comes in handy when we find ourselves in so many different environments with polluted air and allergens.Not producing enough NO can increase your chances of getting sinus infections, which in IMO people are getting way too often, don’t you think?
When your breath is calm, effortless, and nasal, you’re taking advantage of two amazing vasodilators that help keep you away from congestion. If you slow down your breathing (especially the exhale, with a little pause at the end), you could likely experience quick relief of the stuffed up nose you’ve always dealt with.
When you slow down your breathing you’ll also find yourself calmer, relaxed, and maybe feel a little “melted”. This is because you’ve done a better job at oxygenating your body. You’ve stopped the cycle of repetitive thoughts that are constantly running through your mind. You’ve slowed down your breathing rate letting your brain know, “Hey. I’m okay. There is not a tiger chasing me” If you’re chronically hyperventilating, simply walking your dog could lead your brain to believe that you’re in a stressful situation.
Your breathing patterns can have a huge impact on how stressed out you feel on a daily basis!
When you look up hyperventilation, it always talks about how it’s caused by anxiety, panic, stress..etc. but what if, instead of letting your breathing control you, you were able to start controlling it?
This can work both ways, if you’re in a stressful situation, your breathing rate will increase, and your body will automatically go into a fight or flight response. Your brain doesn’t know the difference. If your breathing rate is faster than it should be, your sympathetic nervous system will have no choice but to be a little more dominant.
How do you think that’s going to affect your recovery? Wouldn’t you want tobreathe like a baby, without a worry in the world, when you’re trying to recover from a hard training session?
Being able to slow down and shut off is crucial when It comes to recovery. We live in a sad world where we have to remind people to take care of themselves, show them how to relax, and remind them not to do so damn much (Including myself). This is why meditation and mindfulness play a huge role in your effortsto reach both health and performance goals.
Making mental wellness a priority is a must when it comes to setting yourself up for long-term success.
If I can get you to bring awareness to your breath, you will immediately have a better connection with yourself. Our minds run all day long without stopping, filled with useless thoughts and worries. We’ve developed patterns in oureveryday lives that prevent us from ever being mindful and fully present.
Could you guess what plays a huge role in that?
““A still mind enables us to relate far better to life and to live life instead of paying attention to useless thinking” Patrick Mckeown “Anxiety Free- Quieten your mind”
In a perfect world, every single one of you would sit outside, get some sunshine and be able to mediate for 30 minutes while listening to nature. With your demanding jobs and crazy schedules, I understand why you can’t take 30 minutes a day to meditate. Which is why when you first walk into the gym for ourgroup classes, the first thing we do is “BREATHING”. Even if it’s just for 1-2 minutes, that’s enough time to get out of that stressed out mind of yours, and get focused on training. You’ll get so much more out of your workout if you can focus on the exercises and are aware of your breathing throughout the session.
I also want you to take this tool and use it during your everyday life. You might have 100 things going on that are making you a nervous wreck, but by bringing awareness to your breath, you can let your brain know it’s OKAY.
I would like for all of my clients to be able to take time out of their day to meditate. but using this tool allows you to bring yourself back to the present. You don’t have to be alone in a quiet room. Work on your breath. You want to get out of the pattern of the useless, repetitive, thoughts that are turning you into a “stress monster”. Even if you are driving in rush hour traffic,you can convince your brain that you’re meditating by making an effort to breathing correctly.
You might walk into your house and notice water leaking from the roof because your kid just flooded the bathroom upstairs. Immediately put your tongue on the roof of your mouth, slow down your breathing. This will slow down the process of your mind freaking out. You might still get upset and you might still yell at your kid, but by controlling your breathing instead of letting it control you, you just did a way better job at managing that stressful situation.
Our body is meant to adapt and manage stress, but it can only handle so much. This tool alone is not the only thing you need to manage your stress and recovery, but it’s definitely a big chunk of the puzzle that most people are missing.
Slowing Down Your Breathing:
Tongue on the roof of your mouth
Make sure it’s silent and effortless
In for 3-4 seconds, out for 5-6 seconds (a little pause at the end of the exhale)