Breathing for optimal health

As a result of my experiences as a physio and many hours of research I wanted to share some of the important stuff with you.

What has become glaringly obvious is that we take so much for granted when it comes to our bodies.

And I want to ask you “How well do you really treat it?”

What is health?

WHO defines health as ‘a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’.

So, let’s start with something really basic….breathing.

Something we all know how to do without even trying. And we all know we can’t live without it.

But how well do you actually breath?

Breathing supplies oxygen to every single cell of your body (essential to function). Your diaphragm is a large muscle that sits at the base of your lungs. It is used to help you breathe. To put it simply, when you breathe in your diaphragm moves down, when you breathe out it moves back up.

I’ve seen so many people over the years who don’t breathe effectively because they don’t use their diaphragm well. This can lead to numerous other problems. Some of them are:

·         You become an upper chest breather. This uses what are called your accessory breathing muscles. These muscles are not designed to be used for this purpose and as a result they fatigue and pain can set in.

·         Upper chest breathing also means you’re not using the full capacity of your lungs. As a result, you get less oxygen into your lungs and therefore less oxygen to every cell in your body including the most important cells, those in your brain…hello brain fog and headaches!!!

·         Less oxygen into your body can affect your lymphatic system (which eliminates toxins from the body). This results in a build-up of toxins in the body which can lead to disease.

·         Less oxygen into your body will affect your ability to recover from exercise and will affect the ability of tissues to heal when injured. 

“So, what’s the solution?” I hear you ask…

Here are 3 ridiculously easy ways to improve the amount of vital oxygen into your body:

1.      Get off your butt

Sitting results in less space for your diaphragm to move downwards when you breathe in.  If you sit most of the day, the organs in your abdomen are pushing up more against your diaphragm, preventing it from being able to move down as you breathe in.

Solution – use a standing desk or take regular breaks to stand and walk.  

2.      Breathe deep

Feeling stressed will lead to you taking shallower breaths or even hold your breath. This again results in not only less oxygen into your body but a build-up of toxins.

Solution – Stand up and do 10 deep abdominal breaths. It would be a good idea to place your hand on your abdomen to feel it rise and fall (not your chest moving). Inhale for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds. 

3.      Hydrate

There’s a clue in the chemical formula – H20. There is oxygen in water that your body can use. Drinking the recommended amount of water everyday will help keep your oxygen levels optimal.

Solution – Drink 30ml/kg of body weight per day. (e.g. If you weight 75kg you need 2 ¼ litres)


Remember, YOU have the power to steer your own course in life.