Breathing; we do it every day. We don’t even need to think about it. But what if we actually did take the time to think about it? Not just regular breathing; the deep saturating breaths that make our skin tingle? Really stop and think about it. You can do it any time, wherever you are, whatever you are doing. There are no fancy steps that you need to take. Simply breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose. Draw in the air and feel it fill your lungs. Now exhale slowly through your mouth. You can feel the oxygen saturating your body…ahhh. Ok, so it feels good, but what are some other reasons why we should practice deep breathing?
1. Weight loss.
Deep breathing draws more oxygen in to our lungs, which in turn delivers more oxygen to our heart. This increases our cardiovascular capacity and the amount of oxygen that is delivered to our cells. Much like in aerobic exercise, deep breathing keeps our cells in an aerobic state encourages the burning of fat rather than energy stores of glycogen.
2. Helps us detoxify.
Our lymphatic system is responsible for flushing out toxins and carrying away waste from our immune system. Unlike the heart, the lymphatic system does not have its own built-in pump. In order to keep the toxins moving, it relies on breathing and bodily movement to detoxify.
The parasympathetic nervous system is what controls our fight or flight response. Deep breathing triggers our parasympathetic nervous system, neutralizes stress and elicits a calming feeling.
4. Eases pain.
When we are confronted with pain, it is our nature to hold our breath, but breathing through the pain is actually what will help us the most. When we breathe deeply, we oxygenate the blood, which causes our brain to release endorphins. It is these endorphins help reduce stress in the body and decrease levels of pain.
5. Mental clarity.
When our mental chatter is distracting us, or when we are fixated on events that have happened either in the past or are yet to come, taking a deep breath helps us re-center and brings us back to the present moment. When we are experiencing an emotional reaction, slow deep breaths trigger the release of endorphins, producing a calming effect.
Who would have thought something so simple could do so much for us? Practice deep breathing throughout your day, and you will quickly begin to notice the benefits!