(NaturalNews) To get the most out of your fitness and training routines, breath training for exercise is an essential piece of the puzzle that is overlooked today. It's a complete shift in current athletic and fitness philosophies to strengthen the respiratory system. Mindful conscious breath-based movement is essential for optimal performance. Therefore, the rate, depth and balance between the inhale and exhale are important to how the body can and will perform.
Understanding the fundamentals of breathing will allow us to gain some perspective on why breath training is just as important, if not more important, than training the muscles involved in the sport or fitness routine.
In a resting state, the average person takes 15 breaths per minute. The sympathetic response of the nervous systems is engaged already at this point. It is not until the breathing rate drops to 12 or less breaths per minute that the parasympathetic response of our nervous system is engaged. So, before movement begins, the fight or flight response is active. Once exercise begins, carbon dioxide levels rise sending signals to the respiratory system to increase the breathing rate. The breathing pace rises to approximately 40 to 50 breaths per minute.
The muscles used for the inhale (or inspiratory muscles) are the diaphragm, inspiratory intercostals, sternomastoids, and scalenes. The muscles involved in the exhale (or expiratory muscles) are the abdominals, external obliques and expiratory intercostals. The lungs and chest cavity are elastic structures that respond to the force involved in breathing. No matter what the intensity of the movement, the majority of the effort is produced from the inspiratory muscles: specifically, the diaphragm muscle.
The only way to train the diaphragm muscle is through breath. The most effective training is restrictive air flow, which is achieved through nasal diaphragmatic breathing. Nasal diaphragmatic breathing also allows the full use of lungs which addresses the lack of depth in breathing. It is rare to use more than 50% of the lung's capacity because mouth breathing rarely takes the breath below the breast line. The upper lobes of the lungs are filled with emergency stress receptors while the calming and relaxing receptors are located in the lower lobes of the lungs.
Let's visit the sympathetic response and its impact on the body. When in fight or flight mode:
- heart rate increases - an increased production of biotransmitters tells the body its survival is threatened, sending harmful levels of chemicals into the blood - increased muscle tension - the body burns sugar instead of fat - blood lactate levels rise - blood clotting mechanisms are heightened - blood is actually directed away from the internal organs towards skeletal muscles - digestion slows dramatically
All of this is much easier to manage through nasal diaphragmatic breathing. Exercise was designed to encourage health, not impede health.
To learn more about diaphragmatic breathing, watch Diaphragmatic Breathing video on NaturalNewsTv. To weave various breathing techniques into exercise, view the Physio Ball & Ab Warm-up video.