How “Belly Breathing” Helps During Workouts & For Anytime Stress Management

I guess if there’s any one thing you figure you “know how to do” already, it would be breathing. You’ve been doing it successfully for a while now, yes? 

But we adults have often gotten away from breathing the way a child or an animal does: using our diaphragm and the lower part of our torso (“belly”) to initiate inhales and exhales. Why? Tight pants, self-consciousness, spending a lot of time sitting…there are multiple reasons.

Belly breathing noticeably helps during endurance workouts (consciously try it the next time you hit that tough hill on foot or your bike). It also is great during any “mindful breathing” activity like meditation, or straight-up breathing exercises aimed at stress reduction or sleep inducement. 

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I guess if there’s any one thing you figure you “know how to do” already, it would be breathing. You’ve been doing it successfully for a while now, yes?

But we adults have often gotten away from breathing the way a child or an animal does: using our diaphragm and the lower part of our torso (“belly”) to initiate inhales and exhales. Why? Tight pants, self-consciousness, spending a lot of time sitting…there are multiple reasons.

Belly breathing noticeably helps during endurance workouts (consciously try it the next time you hit that tough hill on foot or your bike). It’s also great during any “mindful breathing” activity like meditation or straight-up breathing exercises aimed at stress reduction or sleep inducement.

Here’s a useful article with a bit more of the Why, and a clear illustration of the How.

Not ready to invest time reading about breathing (need more convincing that breathing is something to actively focus on?). Then please start by reading this on the amazing array of benefits from deep, controlled breathing.

You know, this might seem like a small thing, man. But as we get older…past 40, 50, 60…focusing on these little things can make a big difference in our quest for long-term vitality. So happy breathing, brother.

 

“At night on them banks I’d lie awake. And pull her close just to feel each breath she’d take.” (Bruce Springsteen, The River – click to listen). This is the iconic live version of Bruce at the No Nukes concert back when.

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I Experimentally Reduced Cardio in My Fitness Mix – Here’s What Happened

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Overtraining on cardio – especially without super-disciplined rest and nutrition regimes – can wear down your body, contribute to muscle loss, and allow development of imbalances that make you more prone to injury.

Also, in our time-challenged lives, too much cardio usually implies too little strength and flexibility training. And maintaining muscle tone and staying limber are huge parts of looking and feeling our best, and maximizing longevity, as we move through life’s second half.

And one big concern about reducing cardio – gaining weight/fat – may be misplaced. Evidence is emerging that strength training (with at least a somewhat-intense cadence) burns fat as well as, or better than, cardio.

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