I hope you're enjoying getting more sleep and all the benefits that come with it! This week we are going to focus on boosting your overall metabolism, on every level, through something so simple and inexpensive, but yet needed to support every function we have to sustain our life. This week, and optimally from here on out, we are going to focus on breathing. So you're probably thinking, "how can breathing help me get healthy or even lose weight"? Let me explain. From his book called The Slow Down Diet, Marc David talks about how breathing affects our digestion and therefore affects our metabolism. The way we breath is in direct concordance with weight and weight management because it is linked to stress and the fight/flight state we go into when we are under stress.
When we are stressed, we adopt a shallow and short breathing pattern, which then kicks in our sympathetic nervous system that says "I'm in danger, run"! When this fight or flight/sympathetic response kicks in, one other major thing happens, our digestive/parasympathetic system turns off. This system is responsible for telling our tummies to digest the food we've eaten and to relax and recharge. If we are constantly stimulating the sympathetic nervous system, our breathing remains shallow and any food we have in our stomachs end up sitting there without being digested until we come back to a homeostatic level.
If you look at calories as something that needs to be "burned", what do you think burns them? Oxygen. If you want to be a metabolically burning machine, you will adopt a deep, full, and relaxed breathing pattern. The more food you eat, the more you need to breath because after a meal, the parasympathetic system kicks in and the brain automatically increases air intake to supply the demand for more oxygen needed to digest your food. So if you are on a low calorie diet, your body will adapt to the smaller portions and decrease the amount of oxygen needed, thus decreasing your overall metabolism.
This is where exercise helps the body to burn fat, by increasing the demand for oxygen, and by helping the body to better utilize that oxygen. If you practice breathing deeper, you can reap some of the benefits of aerobic training and increase your bodies ability to burn it's internal fuel source, fat.
Ron Teeguarden says in his book The Ancient Wisdom of the Chinese Tonic Herbs, "Regardless of the amount or the quality of food we consume, it will not energize the body if the breathing is insufficient, just as a candle will not burn if there is no air available". It is imperative to your overall health, and the health of your metabolism to breath properly. Not only will increased oxygen supply all the demands of your internal organs, it also helps us mentally to stay relaxed and composed in times of stress. You can trick your body by adopting a relaxed breathing pattern when you're stressed.
Tips to help you breath your way to health
1. When you eat, consciously think about how you're breathing. Putting your fork down between each bite and taking a deep and quiet breath in through your nose, holding for a moment, and exhaling out through your nose, will ensure you are helping your digestive system to function optimally.
2. When you feel stressed, breath in deep and quiet through your nose, hold for several seconds, and exhale out through your nose. Repeat this process 10 times.
3. Maintain an upright posture as you eat to allow for fuller and deeper breaths.
4. Take breathing breaks throughout your day, even if it's only for a few minutes. It will help to reduce stress and increase mental clarity.
5. Dine in a relaxed and peaceful environment where you can enjoy the company you're with. Eat slowly and breath while you eat.
As always, let me know if you have any questions or concerns! Happy breathing :)