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Healthier…One Deep Breath At A Time!

Healthier…One Deep Breath At A Time!
by Natalie Butler, RD, LD

It is easy to take for granted how our body can effortlessly breathe, without us thinking about it or even trying to. In fact, we breath 17,000 to 21,000 breaths everyday! WOW, that fact alone should help us feel grateful for our body’s ability! The majority of these breaths are shallow chest breaths which do move oxygen from our lungs to our blood stream and ultimately to our cells so that all of our body processes can happen, but in a less efficient way. Because these “normal” shallow breaths happen automatically, it is easy to overlook how powerful the simple act of deep breathing can make on our health!

Deep breathing is different from normal breathing because your entire lungs fill up completely, including the lower half which often don’t receive much air through chest breathing (which causes your belly to puff out a bit during a deep breath). The lower lung areas contain more small blood vessels than the rest of the lungs and therefore can transfer oxygen to the body more efficiently. This is why deep breathing may also be called belly breathing or abdominal breathing.

Not surprisingly, deep breathing slows your heart rate, stabilizes blood pressure, reduces your stress hormones and helps you feel more relaxed! Calming our overactive stress response is crucial for our long term health because chronic stress impairs immune function, increases inflammation, raises our risk for heart disease and can even lead to weight gain!

Here’s how to do it:
First take a normal breath.

Now put one hand on your abdomen, just below your belly button.

Try taking a slow, deep breath through your nose, while you count to 4. The air coming in through your nose should move downward into your lower belly. Let your abdomen expand fully. This breath should feel different than your normal chest breath.

Hold your breath for a count of 4.

Slowly exhale your breath for a count of 4. This is called 4-4-4 breathing.

Feel your hand rise about an inch each time you inhale and fall about an inch each time you exhale. Your chest will rise slightly, too, in concert with your abdomen. Remember to relax your belly so that each inhalation expands it fully.

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Viance Nutrition

Hi! I'm Walt Landi the founder and CEO of Viance Nutrition. Welcome to our Blog. I maintain this Blog as a free resource for anyone wishing to improve their health. Your comments and feedback are always welcomed and you can email me direct at walt@viance.com if you have any suggestions. Thanks. Ps. Spread the word and check out our products at viance.com. :)

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