Did the title catch your attention? In today’s society we are often very focused on our exterior appearance. I am often amused at how many “before/after” pictures on the internet are of decapitated bodies with the pinnacle image of the healthy body being the elusive washboard abdominal. While there is an entire marketing history and lots of misconceptions about why this is in fact not a sign of wellness, one interesting observation is when people work out while using controlled deep breathing and EXHALING, they do achieve their desired fitness goals faster and more effectively while gaining greater wellness.
What we first need to realize is that oxygen IS LIFE. If you hold your breath for too long or too often. . .well, it’s the opposite of life. So to BE means to BREATHE.
Scientifically there is a lot happening when we purposefully and consciously take in large consumption of air and then let it out; however, I’m going to break it down in two simple important facts. Primarily you flood the body with oxygen and help in the production of glutathione (yep, I know its a really popular supplement – but you could avoid the cost and just breathe better – right here is why glutathione is important), in addition when we breathe correctly, we burn off excess fat and waste through our exhale.
If I haven’t convinced you with my title, then I want to direct you to a powerful series on how chronic breath holding (some of us have no idea we even do it!) leads to illness and premature death: https://breathing.com/blogs/breathing-problems-and-dysfunction/breath-holding
SO THE QUESTION IS DO YOU KNOW HOW TO BREATHE? Surprisingly many of us have trained ourselves to hold our breaths or shallow breath with the stresses of life.
I love doing breath training work with my patients. I usually schedule 8-15 minutes to assess if there are physical restrictions that have led to your shallow breathing (out of place ribs or thoracic spinal vertebra as well as pain are common reason to train ourselves to shorten our breath and reduce the quantity of air we take in). Once i know your structural support can function, I focus on the muscle systems that control the process. You will quickly see your key to defined stomach muscles is in the movement of breath in and breath out, not the dreaded crunch.
All together now. . .breathe IN and OUT. Ahhh!