A quote from Joseph Pilates: “Before any real benefit can be derived from physical exercise, one must learn how to breathe properly, our very life depends on it“
I’m here to echo that sentiment. Humans can survive without food for approximately three weeks. We can survive without water for approximately three days. But we can only survive without air, and without the oxygen from air for about three minutes.
So that just shows how vital breathing is. An average person breathes roughly about 21,000 times a day, that's as automatic and rhythmic as day turning in tonight, as the tide going in going out. It's completely routine, and we very much take it for granted, until something goes wrong.
In 2016 the British lung foundation issued a report called the battle for breath. They highlighted that one in five people in the UK, actually have some form of a lung disease - they vary from serious lung diseases to mild breathing issues, but 115,000 people in the UK die every year from, from a lung disease related problem. It is one of the three big killers within our country, even before the pandemic. Another statistic, which I found
really shocking is that 11% of child deaths are put down to some form of respiratory problem and lung disease - that's children who are less than 15 in the UK. Within the world 4 million children suffer with asthma, that is specifically due to road pollution every year. And that's 30,000, new cases in the UK alone. 240,000 new cases each year in the US. And that's down to the exposure to nitrogen dioxide from car pollution, particularly from diesel cars. Now, as well as experiencing the problems of asthma on a day to day basis. It can also stunt the development and the growth of a child's lungs. So it really shows why our awareness of breath, and looking after the health particularly of children in that aspect is really crucial.
Lungs are a part of a whole respiratory system, the lungs themselves have three major different jobs to do for our body.
They take in the air, of which about 21% of air is made up of oxygen, and our bodies need about 5%. And they expel the co2 carbon dioxide and waste out.
Secondly, they actually regulate the body's balance of acidic and basic compounds required for the rest of our organs to function properly - that's the lungs that perform that duty for the body.
Thirdly they filter out debris and foreign particles that we inhale through our breath.
The left lung is actually a little bit smaller than the right, to make way for our heart. Within our lunga are 300 million capillaries that help to extract the oxygen, and if they were placed end to end, the distance that they would measure would be 1600 kilometres!
No system in the body works alone though and the way respiratory system functions has a major influence on every other system within our body.
The way you breathe & the movement of your lungs - which are attached to the diaphragm - massages your heart above, your liver below.
The way you breathe effects the way your lymphatic system can rid your body of toxins
The way you breathe sends a
signal to your brain via your vagus nerve to alter your nervous system & whether you feel calm, or anxious, or stressed or at ease.
The way you breathe directly effects your heart rate and your blood pressure
The way you breathe effects other layers within your body that also move in conjunction with your diaphragm such as your pelvic floor, as well as cranial-sacral layer. So the way you breathe effects your continence and headaches
The way you breathe effects the way you develop true core strength & the way you hold tension in your whole body. so if you have back and you’ve not yet tried to assess your breathing, make it your next task!
The way you breathe effects the way you sleep - from being able to fall asleep, staying asleep, sleep apnea, snoring, waking up refreshed
The way you breathe can allow you to remain calm in situations where you benefit from being to pause before reacting, fostering greater connections between you and people that matter in your life.
The Benefits Of Better Breathing are so clear to see and feel once you’ve learnt about your amazing body that you’ll wonder why you didn’t get taught this stuff at school!
Becoming a Pilates coach introduced me to looking at Breathing for the first time in my life. I also picked up some myths and misconceptions that confused me. I delved deeper into BREATHING to become clear in my own mind about a better way to breathe and to help my own back pain.
What I learnt was phenomenal, so much so that I wrote a course & teach workshops for others to enjoy the Benefits Of Better Breathing
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