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.