Jun 17, 2021The Power of Proper Breathing
You might not think of it initially, but breathing plays a vital role in how you think, feel, rest, and recover.
Heck, it can even have an impact on your posture and movement.
A recent series on CNN Health by Dana Santas, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and mind-body coach in professional sports, highlighted the art of breathing and how to incorporate it effectively into your life.
Below is an excerpt from that article.
Respiration vs. Breathing
Respiration is typically thought of as automatic. That’s because it’s part of our autonomic nervous system, meaning we don’t have to think about it for it to happen, like digestion or circulation. Indeed, the metabolic process of respiration, which supplies oxygen to all the tissues of the body and removes carbon dioxide, is involuntary.
But the act of breathing — the movement pattern that powers respiration — is actually a voluntary movement that you can control at will. And because of respiration’s paramount role in keeping you alive, the quality of your breathing can impact virtually all other systems of the body, which means YOU have the power to actively use your breathing to positively affect your health and wellness on many levels.
Understanding the Power of Breathing
When you understand the power of your breathing, you can leverage a slower, more measured breathing pattern to tap the parasympathetic “rest and restore” aspect of your nervous system to help you calm down, increase your concentration, go to sleep and more.
Retired NHL All-star goaltender, Conn Smythe award winner, and Olympic athlete Tim Thomas, who I had the honor of training throughout his career, once said about his breathing, “It makes me feel like I can slow everything down … like I’m just snatching pucks out of the air.”
Putting It To Practice
All-star outfielder Aaron Judge shared this about his experience: “I try to be on the cutting edge of everything health and fitness to keep my body performing at its best. However, there is one simple thing that I had overlooked, until recently, that could help me with recovery, posture, movement, and overall pain: breathing.”
Judge and I began incorporating breathing drills into his training during the off-season. He said, “At first, I couldn’t really understand how something I already do naturally could affect my performance and everyday life. I thought to myself, ‘I breathe all day, how can five to 10 minutes of focused breathing make a difference?’ Boy, was I wrong. I noticed a change and a feeling of relief instantly after the first couple of warmups and sessions. Not only did I feel freedom in my torso and hips — I almost felt taller, which might be hard to believe, as I am already 6’7″.”
To read the full story from CNN Health & Dana Santas, click here.