We do it 20,000x a day. It’s our gateway to relieve stress. It’s our foundation to a strong, functional core. It allows us to digest food properly. It stimulates the lymphatic system (aka detox the body). IF you haven't guessed it yet – we’re talking about breathing. More specifically, we’re talking about “proper functional breathing”. There are 2 factors often overlooked in the training space and that is your breath and your feet. (We’ll save the latter topic for another email). There are 2 factors often overlooked in the training space:
Your feet (topic to be saved for a future email)
Over the past decade, I’ve worked with hundreds (if not thousands) of clients who have no idea about "proper breathing mechanics". Let’s cover what it means to use proper breathing and why it’s so important for your health. There is a dome-shaped muscle that sits inside and on the bottom of your ribs. It is called your diaphragm. When we breathe in, the diaphragm contracts and "pancakes out". When we breathe out, the diaphragm releases and "parachutes back up”. Patrick McKeown, the author of "The Oxygen Advantage" stated that over 70% of people have some level of breathing dysfunction which may include mouth breathing, shallow breathing, chest breathing and/or other issues. Your diaphragm is essential for a strong, functional core. If you cannot master the breath you will forever have mobility/stability problems that will follow that. If you’re someone that breathes up and outward or into your chest/neck, you are getting all those muscles in your neck regions to contract 20,000X a day!! You can imagine how over stimulated these muscles become. This will lead to bad posture, neck/shoulder issues and shallow breathing. The key is to learn how to breathe deep and downwards. This will help stimulate the diaphragm to fill up air in your lower lungs and most importantly maximize the efficiency of your breath. Let's talk about another huge problem we see with our breathing patterns - MOUTH BREATHING!!! Your mouth is meant to eat, chew and talk, not breathe! Your nose is designed to breathe and is the BEST WAY to stimulate parasympathetic tone. If you’re someone who struggles with anxiety and stress, then you will benefit from breathing drills. Practice long, deep and controlled breathing through your nose and out your nose. Only when we are exercising and/or at a certain level of fatigue, is it ok to then start to use your mouth for breathing (because you kinda’ have to at that point) Later this week, I’ll send all of you another email on meditating and the power your breath has on stress management.