Deep Breathing and Fitness

Deep Breathing and Fitness

For over 40 years I have intently studied the methods of the most successful individuals in the field of strength and fitness, and almost without exception, the most successful have emphasized the importance of supplementing exercise with daily deep breathing exercises. What are the benefits? Try these on for size:

1. Increased energy and vitality.
2. Increased mental alertness and clarity due to increased oxygen to the brain.
3. Enhanced mental and creative power.
4. Strengthened abdominal muscles.
5. Improved digestion and elimination.
6. Purified lungs (free of stale residue).
7. Enhanced relaxation.

Could you live with all of those benefits? I sure could—and do! With that said, here is a simple daily procedure for Energetic Deep Breathing:

1. In the morning, while still in bed before arising, consciously relax with your hands at your sides.

2. Inhale deeply through your nose (if you can) and fill your entire body with life-giving oxygen. Imagine your body as one big lung, and as you watch your abdomen rise (just like a baby’s), feel yourself inhale all the way to your feet and let yourself expand.

3. Once you have expanded to the point that you can expand no farther, hold for a slow count of seven seconds, and then begin to slowly exhale.

4. During the exhale, squeeze your abdominals from the top down to the bottom. Squeeze extra hard (great for the abs).

5. As you squeeze, make an “ssss” sound like air being let out of a tire. Continue making this sound until you have forcefully completed your exhale. Endeavor to leave no air in the lungs. Get it all out.

6. Now, start the inhale process all over again, visualizing your body as a giant lung that you will expand as fully as possible. Feel your abdomen rise. Remember, you are breathing naturally like a baby.

7. Practice this deep breathing exercise ten times every morning before getting out of bed. When you do, you will be amazed at your energy level. If you want, and the weather permits, practice 10 more while standing in front of an open window. You’ll be amazed at how exhilarating it feels.

I also recommend you do this exercise at several intervals throughout the day, especially when you want to energize and recharge your thought processes or to get rid of mental or emotional stress.—J.P.

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