Breathing is not an optional activity. It is the first thing we do when we are born and the last thing we do before we die. Breathing enables us to bring oxygen into our body and it is oxygen that plays a vital role in the functions and our metabolic processes. Most people don’t associate a lack of oxygen with deficiency problems. Nothing could be further from the truth. Oxygen plays a primary role in our health and wellbeing.
Oxygen plays a vital role in the energy metabolism of living organisms.
We all know what happens when something stops us from breathing. It takes only three minutes before we become unconscious and an average of seven minutes before we die. Beyond anything else this underscores the critical need for the body to have an uninterrupted supply of oxygen. Just as critical is the body’s need to get rid of the carbon dioxide that has formed in our blood cells which we breath out of our mouths as waste product.
We are carbon based creatures our nutrients contain carbon molecules which we our body breaks apart to extract the molecular energy. We use this energy to run our metabolism. We take in oxygen through our nose and mouth into our larynx, and from here into enters the lungs where it is absorbed into the bloodstream through the capillaries. This continuous metabolic process is responsible for the building of new tissue, converting food to energy and reproduction.
- Most people use only 20% of their lung capacity.
- 70% of elimination of waste from our bodies is through breathing
- Oxygen concentrations in some major cities measure as much as 30% below normal
- 90% of our energy comes from oxygen
- Our brain is 2% of our body mass but uses 20% of our oxygen
- We breathe around 21,000 breaths a day
Knowing how to take a full, deep breath is true-life skill. A full breath cycle transmits life-giving oxygen to every part of the body, gets rid of waste gases such as carbon dioxide, and stimulates the spine and internal organs.
The diaphragm is the main muscle for breathing and is located between the chest and the abdomen. The diaphragm moves down as you breathe in, making the chest size larger so that air can flow into the lungs. When you breathe out the diaphragm moves upward and reduces the chest size so that the air is pushed out of the lungs. Breathing correctly helps your airways stay open longer as you breathe out. If you empty more of the old “stale” air out of your lungs, you will have more room for “fresh” air when you breathe in. In addition, correct breathing lets you use less energy to get air in and out.
Our posture has a big impact on the amount of oxygen we are able to take into our bodies. When we breathe in it is important that our chest expands to its full capacity. If our posture is slumped are shoulders are rounded we constrict the space for chest to expand. The key to good breathing is maintaining a neutral spine, the position that maintains the natural curves of the spine.
10 Better Breathing Tips
- Improve your posture. Learn how to stand tall.
- Aerobic exercise strengthens the heart & assists your oxygen intake.
- Have plenty of access to fresh air
- Breath deeply
- Fill your lungs every time you breathe
- Breathe through your nose
- Breathe slowly
- Practice breathing meditation
- Keep your weight down
- Give up smoking