Day 144 of OUR 365 Day Odyssey
A few months ago I read an article written by Dr. Oz about the importance of taking time in your day to practice deep breathing. So, most every night and morning, before I went to sleep and before I got out of bed, I began to practice deep breathing. I would take ten deep breaths, just like Dr. Oz suggested, and I noticed that breathing became easier. It was not only easier to breath under normal circumstances, but it was also easier for me to breathe while exercising when I needed to take a few deep breaths.
As with many things I start, because they are good for me, I soon stopped my breathing exercises (it’s kind of sad that I could not take a few minutes each day to do something that was good for me).
Over the past few months I have been exercising more frequently and at a higher intensity, and overall I have been feeling pretty good, but about two weeks ago we were out running and I was getting a little tired and wanted to take a deep breath – but I could not – I was breathing fine – but I could not take a deep breath. It was then that I decided it was time to get back to practicing deep breathing and I have started taking deep breaths throughout the day. Of course, I do the deep breathing thing within reason, e.g., I do not practice deep breathing when I am talking on the phone or when I am in a crowd because I do not want people to think that I’m a bit freaky.
Now, I am far from being a scientist, but this is what taking time for deep breathing does for me: It makes me slow down and focus on what I think is one of our most important body functions — breathing. When I am in a stressful situation, for instance, when driving with Dana, deep breathing brings my stress level down and calms me. When I am exercising I now find it much easier to really breath making it possible for my oxygen to do its work.
What about you? How do you breathe?
P.S. Here’s a picture of Dr. Oz demonstrating the deep breathing technique and his instructions.
Dr. Oz: Below is an exercise that will help you practice proper breathing technique. Remember that your diaphragm makes your lungs move. That’s the muscle that pulls your lungs down, so they expand and circulate oxygen throughout the whole lung.
- Lie flat on the floor, with one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest. Lying on the floor at first when you practice is important, because if you stand, you’re more likely to fake a deep breath by doing an exaggerated chest extension rather than letting your lungs fill naturally.
- Take a deep breath in-slowly. Imagine your lungs filling up with air; it should take about 5 seconds to inhale. As your diaphragm pulls your chest cavity down, your belly button should be moving away from your spine as you fill. Your chest will also widen-and maybe rise ever so slightly-as you inhale.
When your lungs feel fuller than a sumo wrestler’s lunchbox, exhale slowly-taking about 7 seconds to let all the air out.)