Breathing is one of the body's most fundamental functions and yet most people fail to breathe properly. Why is this the case? Because when we feel stress it's natural to breathe more shallowly from our chest. This is the body's physiological reaction to stress associated with the "fight-or-flight" response. Short, shallow breathing reduces oxygenation and increases carbon dioxide levels, which in turn increases the acidity within the bloodstream. The body reacts to this scenario by releasing the stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenalin. To break this cycle of shallow breathing, it is necessary to consciously take deep breaths to help relax your body. In other words, relearning how to breathe properly to reduce stress and anxiety is needed to feel more healthy and at ease. Breathing in this manner improves mental concentration, focus and athletic performance because more oxygen gets to the brain.
When it comes to exercise, many people hold their breath during the most strenuous portion of a movement. This is actually a recommended technique for powerlifters who strive to lift or press extremely heavy weight. The technique is often referred as the Valsalva Maneuver in which one inhales, holds the breath, and then forcibly exhales with a closed mouth (straining) during the most challenging part of an exercise in order to exert more force. The benefit of performing the Valsalva Maneuver is the increased ability to push/pull heavier loads compared to a continuous breathing pattern due to the bracing or splinting effect on the spine. In this way, injury is less likely to occur. Nevertheless, there are some risks in utilizing this technique:
Brian Danley, CFT
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."
Brian Danley, CFT "Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going." 408-688-1586 (cell) briandanleyfitness.com https://www.linkedin.com/in/briandanleyfitness https://www.facebook.com/BrianDanleyFitness
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I'm a personal trainer who loves to help others fulfill their health and fitness goals. I consider myself a bodybuilder in that I live the lifestyle of eating healthy food, working out regularly, and sculpting my body.