Without a doubt breathing is the most essential process practiced by human beings. We can live for months without food, days without water but only minutes without air. We are breathing constantly every second of our lives. Doing something in such high quantity can lead quickly to major errors when we start doing it the wrong way.
The key idea in the book “The Oxygen Advantage” is that like everything else we consume; the dosage plays a crucial part. Drinking water is good, it is recommended to drink ca. 2 liters daily, but too much water can have fatal consequences as well such as over-hydration and hyponatremia. The same principle goes for the amount of air we breathe.
Modern lifestyle, including prolonged time of sitting and being under constant stress, can change our breathing mechanics to become shallow. We start breathing with our chest and using the mouth, believing that we can get more oxygen into our body. The result is that we start over-breathing.
First we need to understand, that counter intuitively we are not getting more oxygen by breathing in more air, because the necessary factor for oxygen being utilized is actually the level of carbon dioxide in our blood. Therefore, in order to oxygenate our body effectively, we need to reduce breathing instead of doing the opposite. Over-breathing lowers the carbon dioxide threshold of the body and decondition our system to effectively supply us with oxygen. This can be a crucial disadvantage especially when you do sports or any aerobic activity.
Here is how you can breathe right: Use your nose only to inhale and exhale. It humidifies, filters and warms up the incoming air. It also induces the gas nitric oxide, which has shown to have vital health benefits. Nose breathing can keep us calm, using the diaphragm to regulate breathing and fulfil its purpose.
The narrow airways of the nose restrict too much air from coming in and is slowing breathing down naturally. In order to take a deep breath, make sure you breathe into your belly, not into your chest. You can test that by putting one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest. Breathe into your bottom hand whereas the top one remains still.
You can include breath holding into your training or your daily life to increase your carbon dioxide threshold an improve performance as well as wellbeing.
Pro tip: If you are not sure if you are breathing through your nose at night, try taping your mouth. This might make a huge difference in sleep quality.
Try breathing this way and observe yourself. For some it might not make a big difference, but I am sure if you are a habitual mouth breather, it can increase your quality of life tremendously.
Welcome to HAUS No3
At HAUS No3 - breathing is an essential component and one of the first steps that we address when we see a new guest come through the doors to our personal training studio in Bangkok.
We feel that the effects that breathing has not only on your wellbeing and health but also performance is in general heavily underestimated. Luckily, it doesn't take much to feel the difference of what improving breathing mechanics can do for you so motivating our clients to be mindful of their breathing is usually not a difficult task.
If you are interested in learning more about how you can test and optimize your own breathing - contact us here or send a message via LINE to @hausno3. We help people just like you to get fit and live healthy.
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About the author
Lothar Markert is a German native, his mom is Korean, a former national team Taekwondo athlete and he has lived in Bangkok since 2017. He is currently the Operations Manager at HAUS No3 and the eminent host of the widely popular public speaking event HAUS Talks.
You can learn more about Lothar here.