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Effective breath

No matter what you eat, how much you exercise, how skinny or young or wise you are, none of it matters if you’re not breathing properly.

James Nestor, Breath – The new science in a lost art

Breath and filling/emptying the lungs in correct way is essential for both exercise and recovery.

Breath for exercise

When you exercise breath is important in several ways. You strive for good oxygenation and ventilation of residues (for example carbon dioxide) for some sports and also intra-abdominal pressure for some sports.

Breath for oxygenation and ventilation of residues

Breath is one of the systems in the body that is both autonomous and possible to change with willpower to some extent, so you can most often focus on other things apart of breath.

Still it can be good to know that you can change breath frequency and how much you fill the lungs with willpower to some extent, if needed to improve oxygenation and/or ventilation of residues like carbon dioxide.

Even though it might sound strange you can, in some cases, want to have an controlled impaired oxygenation and slightly higher level of carbon dioxide and that is in for example cases where you hyper ventilated or over breath.

Breath for intra-abdominal pressure

Breath can be used for strength sports like power lifting and Olympic lifting to create support for the abdomen and the back not to collapse during heavy exercise or competition.

Important to think about for you who have hypertension, that intra-abdominal pressure means breath hold and breath hold during exercise can mean raised blood pressure.

Breath for recovery

The most common use for breath techniqus for recovery we see during yoga and meditation.

It is an extremely effective technique for lowering heart rate and calming down the body, lowering stress levels, by breathing more slowly on exhalation where a simple rule of thumb is to allow exhalation to take twice as long as inhalation.

Practice breathing

Without going into too many details or techniques to practice breathing, we have a short list of easy ways to practice breathing.

Breathe in three steps

Fill the stomach, then the chest and last shoulders to find the right order in your effective breathing and to make good use of the breathing muscles (diaphragm).

Fill your stomach

Place the palm of your hand on your stomach to feel your stomach fill, or check in a mirror that you swell up in the area of your navel first. The supplementary studies is to breathe broadly, to fill out the sides of the abdomen.

Then chest and last shoulders

When you have filled your stomach you want your chest to fill and you should see that the ribs, so to speak, rise slightly at the end of the breath, and in that movement the shoulders will lift a little if you breathe really deep.

Breathe or breathe with exhalation brake.

Breathing or breathing with an exhalation brake aims to allow the breathing muscle to work a little to get the air out of the lungs.

At , you can read more about breathing with exhalation brake (called it Relaxator ). You can achieve the same effect without any equipment through closed lip-breathing, you squeeze the lips together and create resistance during the exhale

Important to consider

Respiratory sports such as free diving and apnea are not covered in this page.

Creating abdominal pressure and/or holding your breath can be risky in some illnesses (eg hypertension) so always check with a doctor before you start making changes, along with a professional, in the way you breathe.

This is just a scrap on the surface of breathing, if you want to know more you can always contact us !

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