So You Want To Be Healthy? Breathe!

Breathing is a good thing. The more you breathe, the longer you will live. I try to breathe every day. All kidding aside, every part of our body requires oxygen to function and breathing is the delivery system for that oxygen. When we stop breathing, the brain and all the organs begin dying within minutes. Less severe, but when we are not breathing efficiently, the body quickly becomes oxygen-deprived. What do I mean by breathing efficiently?

Slow deep breaths are always the most effective method of breathing. The chest walls expand slowly and the lungs fill to their capacity. Slowly releasing the air also gives the lungs more time to pull all the oxygen from the breath. You receive the most benefit from slow deep breaths.

When we are in pain or doing something strenuous, our body needs for us to breathe that way. Unfortunately, we often hold our breath or breathe swiftly and shallow. That is the worst thing we can do for our bodies in those cases. If you have a muscle cramp, it’s primarily because the muscle is oxygen-starved. Take slow deep breaths as you gently stretch the muscle to relieve cramps. Many will hold their breath when doing something strenuous. Your circulatory, cardiovascular, and muscle systems are under high demand at that point. They require plenty of oxygen, more than usual.

Other than the obvious health benefits of breathing, there are more good reasons to breathe.

• Calming. When you are stressed or agitated, slow deep breaths will relax your body, settle your nerves, plus give your mouth something to do other than saying things best left unsaid.

• Lower blood pressure. When not receiving enough oxygen, blood vessels constrict, requiring greater pressure to pump the blood through them. Breathe deep.

• The brain requires adequate oxygen to function properly. An oxygen-deprived brain literally does not think clearly.

Breathing is an automatic action. We don’t normally think about it, unless we are in a situation where we can’t breathe. But to reap all of the health benefits of breathing, we should take the time to think more about how we are breathing. You can immediately feel the boost of alertness and energy from a concentrated effort of slow deep breaths. It’s better than any energy drink!