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Take A Breath

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Our breath is an essential part of life that we often take for granted. It is a process that allows us to bring oxygen into our bodies and release carbon dioxide. Proper breathing is essential for survival and plays a vital role in maintaining our health and managing stress. It really is the breath of life. But too many of us don’t think about our breath or even do it properly. So, take a breath and read on. 

The Wrong Way

Breathing keeps you alive. Doing it properly helps us maintain optimal health. Doing it improperly can lead to a whole host of problems. Tachypnea or rapid, shallow breathing, also known as chest breathing, is far too common. It is when you don’t use your lungs to their full capacity but only take in small amounts of air, often more frequently than you would with deeper breathing. These shallow breaths do not expand the belly but rather are limited to the chest area.

Shallow breathing can be caused by many things, among them stress, a sedentary lifestyle, a respiratory or heart issue, simple lack of awareness of our breath, and poor posture such as restricting the diaphragm by sitting in a hunched position for long periods of time.

And then there’s Email Apnea. (Yes, that’s a thing!) Approximately 80% of us either hold our breath or take shallow breaths when reading our email!

Regardless of why you aren’t breathing properly, it can lead to some serious problems. Among them:

Fatigue, Dizziness, and brain fog can be the result of lack of oxygen supply to the body and brain.
Stiffness and decreased range of motion can result when shallow breathing leads to muscle tension. If your shoulders are up by your ears, you’ve got tense muscles.
Carbon Dioxide can accumulate in your body if you aren’t getting rid of it with proper breathing. This build-up can lead to headache, fatigue, and ultimately respiratory failure.
If you’re the first to catch whatever bug is going around your family or office, you might have impaired immune function. Shallow breathing doesn’t properly support your lymphatic system, which is at the front lines of fighting infections. 
A vicious cycle of stress. Stress can lead to rapid, shallow breathing, which leads to more stress.

Proper Breathing

Proper breathing helps to circulate oxygenated blood throughout the body, delivering essential nutrients to our cells and tissues. When we breathe correctly, our body is able to function at its best, and our energy levels are boosted. Additionally, proper breathing can help to regulate our heart rate, reduce stress, and promote a sense of overall well-being.

If you could use some help, one simple breathing exercise you can try is the 4-7-8 technique. This technique involves the following steps:

Inhale through your nose for a count of 4. Diaphragmatic breathing involves drawing breath deep into your lungs so that your belly is extended. This abdominal breathing is the shift you want to make.
Hold your breath for a count of 7.
Exhale through your mouth for a count of 8.
Repeat the steps several times, aiming for a total of 4-7-8 breaths.

The 4-7-8 breathing technique can help to calm your mind, reduce stress, and promote relaxation. It has also been known to improve sleep and respiratory function. Remember to practice this exercise regularly, and combine it with other relaxation techniques to further enhance its effects.

Inhale the present moment, exhale the past. 

Lifestyle Skill

While breathing is something we all do without thinking about it, it’s instinctual, maybe we should give it more thought. Like any skill it can be improved upon. In addition to breathing exercises remember to engage in physical activity which naturally involves deep breathing and be sure to check your posture. 

When it comes to helping with your posture, there’s a 100 Year Lifestyle provider near you. Making chiropractic care part of your 100 Year Lifestyle you’ll be supporting your spine and nervous system, giving your body what it needs to not only breathe properly, but to make every breath count as part of your healthy longevity, living at 100:100 – at 100% for 100 years or more! 

 

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