Monday, September 25, 2006

Live Strong, Breathe Well

I am no health guru, but I try to practice good living habits. It’s essential because the world we live in has become more polluted and hectic.
I have to increase my life expectancy so that I can accomplish the dreams I want to pursue.
Sedentary workers gripe about not having time or motivation to exercise. Their athletic counterparts encourage them to put on their running gear and take to the road for a quick jog. But before we change into our Stella McCartney Adidas sportswear, we should first learn to breathe correctly. If not, we will not reap the full benefits of the workout.

What's Wrong With The Way We Breathe?
Our breathing is too shallow and too quick. We are not taking in sufficient oxygen and we are not eliminating sufficient carbon dioxide. , As a result, our bodies are oxygen starved, and a toxic build-up occurs. Every cell in the body requires oxygen and our level of vitality is just a product of the health of all the cells.

Shallow breathing does not exercise the lungs enough, so they lose some of their function, causing a further reduction in vitality.

Animals which breathe slowly live the longest; the elephant is a good example.

We need to breathe more slowly and deeply. Quick shallow breathing results in oxygen starvation which leads to reduced vitality, premature ageing, poor immune system and a myriad of other factors.

An editorial in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine suggested that fast, shallow breathing can cause fatigue, sleep disorders, anxiety, stomach upsets, heart burn, gas, muscle cramps, dizziness, visual problems, chest pain and heart palpitations.
Scientists have also found that a lot of people who believe they have heart disease are really suffering from improper breathing.

I shan’t go into the details of the benefits of deep breathing (the proper way to breathe). You can google that and know more.

But, first things first! DON’T breathe through your mouth! I think this annoying bad habit is very prevalent among the male population. I don’t know whether it is because they have chronically blocked noses, or because they are simply hyperventilating every time a hot babe passes them by.
Whatever it is, God planted a nose on our faces for a good reason. And no, it is not to enable us to stuff them with silicone implants.

Importance of Breathing Through The Nose
The first rule for correct breathing is that we should breathe through the nose. This may seem obvious, but many people breathe principally through the mouth. Mouth breathing can adversely affect the development of the thyroid gland. It can retard the mental development of children.

The nose has various defense mechanisms to prevent impurities and excessively cold air entering the body. At the entrance to the nose, a screen of hairs traps dust, tiny insects and other particles that may injure the lungs if you breathe through the mouth. After the entrance of the nose, there is a long winding passage lined with mucus membranes, where excessively cool air is warmed and very fine dust particles that escaped the hair screen are caught. Next, in the inner nose are glands which fight off any bacilli which have slipped through the other defenses. The inner nose also contains the olfactory organ-our sense of smell. This detects any poisonous gases around that may injure our health.

Pathogens can enter the lungs via mouth breathing. It is easy to break the habit of breathing through the mouth. Just keep your mouth closed and you will automatically breathe through your nose!

1 Method of Deep Breathing
(I came across this one here years ago, after reading Anthony Robbins’ book—You can say his teachings are pure hype and feel good, but I say, this one—MUST LEARN lah!)

The Tony Robbins breathing exercise is mentioned in the excellent book "Unlimited Power" and basically consists of breathing in the following ratio:

Breath in for 1 count
Hold for 4 counts
Breath out for 2 counts

For example – if you were to breathe in for four seconds, then you would hold your breath for sixteen seconds and then breathe out for eight.
If you are able to do this ten times, three times a day (morning, evening and before bed) you will notice a huge difference to your energy, your clarity and your ability to ward off illnesses.

Breathe well: Live long and prosper! =)



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