It may seem like a fad in the fitness world these days, but the benefits of deep breathing have been known for thousands of years. From the yogis, to the Zen Buddhists, to the Qi Gong practitioners – breathing has always been espoused as one of the most important tools for control of the body and mind. Nowadays, secular folks like you and I can also be assured of the health benefits of deep breathing, as science continues to strip the mysticism away from such a basic but vastly important bodily function. Here are 3 of the top reasons as to why we all need to be concentrating on our breathing all day, every day:
1. The diaphragm, which is the muscle responsible for deep belly breathing, is innervated by the Vagus nerve. The Vagus nerve is responsible for activating the parasympathetic nervous system. Physical and mental relaxation, digestion, and recovery can only occur with good parasympathetic tone. When we breathe deeply, we activate the Vagus nerve. When we activate the Vagus nerve, we feel less stressed. When we feel less stressed, our bodies have an easier time losing fat and gaining muscle.
2. Good breathing mechanics can improve thoracic mobility as well as diaphragm, transverse abdominus, and pelvic floor function. All of these traits are prerequisites for proper spine, hip, and shoulder function. So in short, without all the fancy science lingo, deep breathing helps reduce chronic pain by improving joint mobility.
3. Our bodies primarily run on the aerobic energy system. This means that for most of the day, our bodies are designed to utilize oxygen in the process of burning fat for energy. Deeper breathing leads to better oxygen utilization, higher energy levels, and more fat burned.
So there you have it. No talk of chakras or chi, just straightforward science to suggest that we all need to take the time to breathe deeper and more often for our health’s sake. If you’d like to know more about, and start taking responsibility for your own health, fitness, and wellness, please reach out to Crux Fitness Richmond for any of your personal training needs.
Pat Koo – Personal Trainer at Crux Fitness Richmond
*Photo by Pavel Lozovikov