Anytime you are frustrated, angry, peeved or anxious you are told to take 10 deep breaths. Why is that exactly? It is not because we need more nitrogen in our body, the most pervasive gas in our air, but for other vital reasons. Let’s discuss the benefits of deep breathing exercises.
Benefits of Deep Breathing Exercises
Taking a few moments a day to do deep breathing exercises yields a myriad of benefits, both physically and emotionally as well. Though we might be lazy to take time to do these exercises we can’t deny that we feel infinitely calmer, happier, and more mindful afterwards.
The Body’s Filter
The body has its own AC filter. It is called the nasal cavity. Right behind the nostrils are long, vertilaginous, mucous and cilia-laden “caverns.” The main purposes behind the nasal cavity is to clean the air that will be propelled into our sterile trachea and lungs and to trap any pathogenic “bugs” from going into this pristine space. It also warms the inhaled air to body temperature. This is a marvelous feat of engineering…especially in freezing temperatures.
By breathing in through our nose we are utilizing the most-sophisticated filtering system in the universe. Not using it by breathing through our mouths is self-defeating, and honestly leads to higher rate of infections and bad breath. So let’s not do it. God gave us the nasal cavity for a reason.
Now exhaling through your mouth is not a problem since that air doesn’t need to be filtered. So the best modus operandi for proper breathing is inhaling through the nose, exhaling through the mouth.
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The benefits of deep breathing exercises are innumerable. Like the microbiome in the gut, new science is yielding exciting and promising research of this most simple of biohacks.
Increase energy level
This makes sense. By inhaling more air we get more oxygen into our body into our blood via the red blood cells that carry both oxygen and carbon dioxide. Higher oxygen levels increases energy levels.
Enhances Blood Flow
Deep breathing accelerates blood flow by increasing the speed at which oxygen is delivered to the body. The movement of the diaphragm, the thin muscle which is responsible for respiration (breathing), aids in this acceleration. It also helps us remove toxins by promoting overall better blood flow.
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Detoxification of body.
We know that we take in oxygen when we inhale. We exhale carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is akin to “cell poop.” It is the toxic waste that needs to be removed by the red blood cells via exhalation. Shallow breathing allows more accumulate of this waste. The more deep breathing we do, the more toxic carbon dioxide we eliminate.
Optimizes The Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system is like the garbage collection system of the body. Lymph is excess fluid. The body removes this lymph via a system of tubes. Improved deep breathing accelerates the lymphatic speed, thus purging the body more efficiently of toxins.
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Speeds Your Metabolism
Studies came out in the 90s suggesting that deep breathing exercises may speed up your metabolism. Increased oxygen leads to optimal running of the cells which led to cellular and overall increased metabolism.
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Many diseases like cancer thrive when our bodies our in a state of acidity. An acidic state causes more oxidation and inflammation. Stress compounds that by making the body more acidic as well.
We like the body to be in a more alkaline state. Studies show that deep breathing reduces this acidic state. It, of course, also lowers stress levels.
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We don’t really think about it, but when we try to take in a deep breath we straighten our posture. Sitting or standing. Doing proper deep breathing exercises straightens our vertebral column and shoulders, thus correcting our poor posture and making us look taller. Almost like putting a book on our heads like charm school from back in the 1950s.
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As we have established deep breathing supplies more oxygen to all part of the body. This includes our 30-feet of digestive tubes. Deep breathing increases peristalsis, the constant movement of food from mouth to anus, and optimizes the production of digestive enzymes to help break down and absorb the food.
Deep breathing leads to better thinking, memory retrieval, and concentration. Increased oxygen to the vessels of the brain, the neurons, and supporting nervous system cells helps optimize our brain power.
Natural Pain Reliever
Deep breathing releases endorphins, the euphoric, feel-good hormones and natural painkillers of the body. Why go down the opioid path (which is full of so many casualities due to opioid crisis now) if we can use the arsenal of endorphins God gave us? So any time you have some minor aches and pains, take those deep breaths!
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Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Of course this is the most popular reason people do deep breathing. The combination of endorphin release and increased oxygen to the brain results in this natural anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) biohack. The levels of cortisol, which is the predominant hormone released when you are stress, are lowered as well.
Now that we’ve grazed upon some of the benefits of deep breathing exercises, let’s talk about technique. There are various breathing techniques around. I tend to use one of the simpler ones. The 5-7-8. You inhale deeply through the nasal cavity for 5 seconds; hold it for 7 seconds, and exhale through the mouth for 8. It’s simple and easy.
Check out this video by Dr. Weil, who heralded this technique.
It only take a few minutes to implement your deep breathing exercises. You don’t need to do it outdoors in the fresh air (it wouldn’t hurt). You can do it anywhere. In your office…in your classroom…waiting at the airport.