November 2016

Keeping Warm with One Simple Exercise 

As we all know breathing has countless benefits! However, our society has an epidemic breathing problem - ok maybe we're exaggerating, but many clients walk in our clinic and gym with poor breathing patterns. As such, individuals have issues like stress, insomnia, poor posture, and muscle tension, which then lead to nasty tension headaches. See, breathing well does a lot more than keep us alive. The benefits are endless, and even include keeping us warm!

But, how can breathing well keep us warm? It's simple: when we implement diaphragmatic breathing, using our diaphragm to fill our entire lungs, we aid in keeping our secondary muscles of inspiration relaxed and our warm blood travels through our body freely. Yet, when we hold our breath and creep our shoulders up to our ears as a response to the cold, we cause resistance to our bloods circulation.

Diaphragmatic breathing is an exercise to train the body to engage the right muscles of respiration properly. These muscles include: the diaphragm and external intercostal muscles, which are the primary respiratory muscle. The accessory muscles of respiration include: Strnoclidomastoid, Scalenes, Pectoralis minor, Quadratus Lumburum, Internal intercostals, External Obliques, Sarraute Anterior, and the pelvic floor.

Even though we breath unconsciously, we are still able to override our breathing pattern in order to hold our breath. This happens when we sing, talk, sigh, or even suck in our stomach. Our muscles will adapt to new movement patterns very rapidly and typically do not reset on their own, which is why incorporating this exercise is an excellent idea.

When practicing breathing techniques, we suggest lying down on your back and placing your hands on your stomach to start. The objective is to breathe slowly and deeply causing your hands to rise. Then repeat this steps, but focus on expanding your rib cage sideways. And, then repeat these steps with a focus on rising your chest up to the sky. Breathing in through your nose and passively exhaling through your mouth. Here, Jose explains a variation of this exercise called 90/90 breathing. Try this for 5 minutes at time – it’ll do wonders for stress management, sleep, muscle tension, and posture. Then the next time you have to face the cold try implement your diaphragmatic breathing to stay warm. 

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