By Laurie Sweig
I had a client who was a radiologist. During one of our strength training workouts I was coaching him on breathing. The optimum way to breathe when lifting weights is to exhale during the work part of the cycle, and then the inhale happens at the returning phase. There I was standing beside him saying “OK now inhale, and exhale.” After a few annoying (for him) sets of this he said “Laurie, if you just tell people to exhale they will inhale, trust me.”
Breathing is magical in so many ways that we don’t often consider. You’re breathing right now. At least, I really hope that you are (insert winky face here). You’re not thinking about it at all and it happens. That is amazing. Oxygen must get to every part of our body or life cannot be sustained. When it comes to exercising, breathing enhances the results. That is just one aspect of breathing.
Lately I’ve been paying attention to how I feel when I take a deep breath. Especially when I’m standing outside in the fresh cool autumn air. The deeper the breath I take the more grounded I feel. I’m writing this article because I was curious about why that happens. The explanation is simple. Essentially, when we’re so focused on one action we cannot worry about any past actions or fret about what the future might hold. Taking that breath brings you right into the moment. Being completely present allows us to let go of negative thoughts that can lead to tension in our bodies.
Want to give it a try? How about now? It’s simple.
• Get comfortable – seated, standing or lying down.
• Close your eyes (finish reading these instructions first).
• Take a breath. Inhale through your nose (or mouth) and feel your rib cage expand.
• Hold that breath for a couple of seconds.
• Exhale slowly through your nose or mouth and feel the movement in your rib cage.
• Open your eyes and smile because you just did something good for yourself.
There are many variations on breathing techniques available online. Find something that works for you or just stop through your day and take a breath. Breathing is a perfect tool to help us through the stressful moments. We have it with us at all times and there’s no equipment needed. Not even a device. Now, that is magical!
Something to think about.
Laurie Sweig is a certified personal fitness trainer and spinning instructor. She owns and operates The Point for Fitness. She can be reached at email@example.com.