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Importance of Breathing Exercises

Oxygen is the most crucial of all elements in the body. While it is technically not a nutrient, it is an oxidizing agent that forms new compounds that release energy into the body much like what nutrients in food consumption do. People can survive without food for days, but a lack of oxygen for only a couple minutes will cause death. Without the proper oxygen flow throughout the entire body, your organs begin to operate less efficiently leading to health problems.

Purify the Blood Stream

When your blood stream is purified, the body has more energy. Breathing in more oxygen is the most effective purification process for the blood stream. Effective breathing leads to a more healthy body and mind. Improper breathing leads to a decrease in the supply of a chemical called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The lack of this chemical leads to premature aging, a decrease in vitality and the onset of disease.

Relaxation

Slow and deep breathing produces a stimulating effect of the parasympathetic nervous system. This leads to a heart-rate reduction and allows the muscles to relax. Combined these two functions send signals of relaxation to the brain. This extra flow of oxygen to the brain leads to a more normalized brain function that reduces anxiety. Over a period of time, stress leads to a depletion of nutrients that affects the endocrine system causing the brain to function abnormally. This can lead to depression, muscle pain and insomnia. The parasympathetic nervous system counteracts this from happening.

Weight Loss

Breathing exercises are not a substitute for weight loss. However, effective breathing has a big impact on how your body reacts to exercise. Your body's cardiovascular capacity is largely determined by how much oxygen your heart and lungs are able to send to your cells. When these muscle cells start operating, they require energy to burn. This improves metabolism. Through an increase in oxygen to the heart, more energy is produced, increasing your ability to perform activities.

Workout Productivity

Many exercise programs provide instructions on when to inhale and exhale. However, they typically leave out the reason for why this breathing pattern is important for the workout. Many people hold their breath during a workout, especially when performing a strenuous motion such as lifting weights. Holding your breath during exercise allows the blood pressure to go to your head. This can cause dizziness, light-headiness and headaches. This is a result of the muscles not being able to relax. Through proper breathing, your muscles can relax and open up which results in improved strength, speed and performance.

Simple Deep Breathing

Simple deep breathing actually begins with a full exhale. Your ability to inhale is restricted when your lungs are not completely empty. Position yourself in a comfortable chair. Place your hand on your knees, and relax the shoulders. Exhale through your nose for five seconds. Help your lungs deflate by tensing the abdominal muscles. At the conclusion of the release, pause for two seconds, and then breathe in slowly for five seconds. While inhaling, allow your belly to expand. Perform this exercise 5 to 10 times with your eyes closed.

Article By: Curt Fletcher