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Breathing, Don’t Take it for Granted


The things we take for granted are probably the things we should be paying the most attention to.

On Monday I talked about mobility work for the hands and wrists. And today I get an email from an online client exclaiming “OMG, I’ve never had a forearm pump before!”

Which suggests the forearm muscles, those that control the hand and wrist are potentially under-stimulated and in need of some care and attention. As a kettlebell lifter, mine are often over stimulated and in need of care and attention.

Either way, hands deserve care and attention.

But let’s go deeper, let’s talk about breathing.

Most people I work with fall into one of two camps. Those that have never considered the role of breathing, and those who have been taught certain methods, usually as that method is the one and only way to breathe.

I’m here to tell that there is no one right way, but there are many ways which are correct, and it all depends on the context.

For a shortcut, I wrote an “Instruction Manual” for breathing which you can find here

But outside of the gym or exercise class, does how you breathe matter?

Short answer: YES!

Long answer:

If you do what most people do and breathe high in the chest with an open mouth, then then it’s not a reach to guess you also feel tightness/stiffness in the neck and shoulders. What about the hips, would they also be tight?

How’s your stress levels?

High chest breathing, especially with an open mouth is highly correlated with the stress response. Think back to pre civilisation, think Game of Thrones type of living. Each time your life is on the line, the stress response kicks in and the head drops to protect the neck. The shoulders lift to protect the neck. The breathe speeds up in preparation for immediate action.

Adrenaline is released into the bloodstream, priming us for physical action.

Yet how often does that physical action manifest itself?

Unless you get to the gym, go for a run or get some form of physical exertion in, it doesn’t.

Having a good belly laugh and banter with a comrade is a great alternative to the physical exertion. Do you get that opportunity?

Once the stress is over and the physical manifestations we call the stress response have dissipated, we are supposed to return to deeper, diaphragmatic breathing and an open, relaxed posture.

Do you?

Do you know how?

That’s the essence of what we’ll be looking at on the Breathing: Best Practices workshop.

We’ll talk about how diaphragmatic breathing helps tone down the stress response, and how we can restore the natural diaphragmatic breathing in our body.

I’ll see you there

Dave