Contributed by: Laurel Dierking, M.Ed., NFPT, 200YT

Breathing

Most individuals breathe incorrectly, either by breathing in the mouth, breathing shallow breaths, or utilizing only the upper chest. The nose is the primary organ responsible for delivering filtered oxygen to your body. There are numerous benefits to breathing through the nose which help your body to be able to function optimally including:

*Lowering blood pressure

*Increasing blood circulation

*Slowing breathing rate and improving lung volume/function (the work load on your lungs is doubled when nose breathing, building endurance)

*Improving nervous system function by stimulating nitric oxide that kills bacteria and fights viruses

*Stimulating the brain (hypothalamus)

Due to the excess external stimuli, we often times neglect the lower region of the lungs, missing out on loads of space for more breath. Short, shallow breathing can cause increases in blood pressure, increased release of stress hormones, and 10-15% less oxygen in the blood system. Underemphasizing the breath effects the body’s sympathetic nervous system and keeps the brain in a “fight or flight” state of operation. By simply shifting our breathing to a more conscious, “full”, breath shifts our nervous system functioning to the parasympathetic, “Rest and Digest”, state and ultimately reduces stress levels.

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