Breathing and it's importance

We all know that breathing is important.  Hold your breath for a minute or two and you will bring this point home very quickly.  What is less well known is that breathing is more than just transporting oxygen to the body.  How you breathe affects the maintenance of  the chemical balance within our system, how you breathe also has an effect on the control of the smooth muscle tubes that make up the delivery network of the body from blood to air and beyond.  

When you are stressed, your breathing rate changes in anticipation of a “flight or fight” response that in our current environment usually doesn’t happen.  Because of chronically elevated stress levels, most people are entering into dysfunctional breathing patterns and throwing their systems into overdrive.

Dysfunctional breathing can mean hyperventilating, mouth breathing, upper chest breathing, the inability to take a deep and satisfying breath, any other unexplained breathing discomfort, or any combination of these.

As it applies to your training, dysfunctional breathing can result in hypertonic muscles (chronically tight), muscle fatigue, lower tolerance for anaerobic exercise, and pain.

How can you tell physically if you are in a dysfunctional breathing pattern?

When you look at your breathing patterns as they relate to your body there are a few things that you might notice to indicate that your breathing patterns are dysfunctional:

  1. When taking a deep breath you may notice that your head and shoulders move back slightly

  2. You may also notice that your rib cage moves up as you inhale a deep breath. 

More to come next week - 




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