Sunday, August 20, 2006


Breathing is very important. For all of the exercises in the blog, the breathing instructions are to inhale when a muscle is stressed or weight is lifted and to exhale upon release of muscle force, pressure or weight.

Oxygen is used by muscles to contract. Oxygen is needed to release energy from ATP. Often people do not breathe deeply. When we breathe, oxygen passes from our nose or mouth, into our trachea, then into our bronchi, then bronchioles, then alveoli ducts, and then into the alveoli sacs at the end. These sacs are filled with capillaries, or tiny blood vessels, that exchange oxygen. It is best to breathe in through the nose where germs and dust are extracted in mucus and small hairs.

As you can see, air does not simply go from our nose to our blood. If we do not breathe in a strong, deep manner, we will get less oxygen into our blood. This is especially true if we are sick and our lungs are congested. The muscles will have less oxygen and less energy. Our exercise performance and the benefit we get out of it will suffer. I did not even mention that oxygen needed for other important reactions of the body will not be there.

Some yoga classes feature breathing exercises geared to strengthening your diaphragm and to training you to breathe in a healthy fashion. The diaphragm is a muscle which separates the thoracic part of the body, that holds the heart and lungs, from the abdominal part that holds the stomach, liver, intestines, spleen and gall bladder, among other organs. These yoga exercises focus on using the diaphragm to breath. Then inhaling, the diaphragm moves down and the tummy expands. When exhaling, the diaphragm moves up and the tummy shrinks.

Here is an exercise that you can do at least one time a week:

Stand, sit in a chair or assume the cross-legged yoga pose with the ankles as you feel comfortable. Breathe in and out rapidly using your diaphragm consciously and having your tummy move in and out as far as you can. Do this for ten sets of ten repetitions. After a month or at least four times of doing this, do two sets of 50 repetitions.

Check out!

Disclaimer: None of the information in this blog is intended to take the place of medical advice. Please consult a physician before taking part in an exercise plan, sport, physical therapy, or massage.

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