Breath and Hydration . . . a very brief summary
Breath is always with us . . . but most easily forgotten.
Hydration is easily accomplished . . . yet easily ignored.
If you could take the time each day to breathe you would realize improved health, emotional balance and peace of mind.
We spend our days perpetuating bad posture. Our shoulders roll forward, our chest caves in, our back aches. All limiting our ability to breathe.
We can survive weeks without food, days without water and almost no time without breath. The typical person only uses about 20% of their lung capacity.
We breathe over 20,000 breaths a day. Our body is designed to release 70% of our toxins through breathing. With that fact alone think of the impact of improper breathing. That leaves our internal organs to take up the slack.
When we don’t breathe we are more easily fatigued due to the reduced oxygen in the blood. The brain represents approximately 3% of the body’s mass; but it can consume 20 to 30% of the body’s oxygen intake. Something to keep in mind, it actually consumes more oxygen during periods of activity. So when you need to ponder, remember to breathe.
With each inhale the oxygen begins the process of transforming nutrition into fuel. Each exhale releases carbon dioxide and toxins.
There are lots of different ways to breathe. In terms of normal breathing, one should breath in and out of their nose down into their belly. That action alone is going to activate the diaphragm which will massage the internal organs. It is going to stimulate the lymphatic system which is responsible for detoxifying the body. That system does not have a pump similar to the heart in the circulatory system so it must have movement to accomplish that task.
The smaller orifice of the nasal passages compared to the mouth allows the body to more efficiently utilize the oxygen intake and monitor the carbon dioxide levels in the body. The design of the nose with the mucous and tiny hairs helps to filter 95% of the foreign particles and bacteria we breath in thus protecting our lungs. When we breathe through our mouth these particles can make their way directly into the lungs.
When stressed or very active we often breathe very shallowly through our mouth into our chest. Like when you are anxious with deadlines, dealing with difficult situations or when the saber tooth tiger is coming after you. Flight or fight as opposed to rest and digest.
The goal in this session is not to lecture on breath but to get you to realize how amazing it is and how much of an impact it can have on your overall wellbeing. Think of this simple list and how easy it could be to improve your body’s function by just spending more time with your breath.
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves circulation
- Alleviates anxiety without drugs
- Helps digestion
- Improves sleep (personally, this has made the biggest difference in my ability to fall asleep)
- Helps the nervous system
- Can reduce pain
- Reduces stress
- Improves skin and reduces facial wrinkles
- Helps with weight control and extra oxygen burns excess fat more easily
- Can improve heart function
The benefits of hydration can result in a list similarly as long as the above list for breath. It is such an easy task to do.
Hydration is key to brain function, circulation, digestion, overall body functions. A dehydrated body can actually experience brain shrinkage which will make it work harder to process normal activities.
When considering our daily eating habits, drinking water will help you to feel fuller. They have found that drinking two glasses of water before a meal can result in eating 22% less.
Proper hydration can help to control pain levels. The neural pathways around the nerves tend to become painful when dehydrated.
The human body is 60% water. It becomes more amazing when you consider specific body systems. The brain and heart are 73% water. The lungs 83% water. The skin 64% water. Muscles and kidneys are 79%. And surprise . . . the bones are 31% water. Makes you think about water more seriously.
- Hydration helps to maintain body temperature through sweating and respiration
- Is vital to every cell in its development
- Metabolizes and transports carbohydrates and proteins through the bloodstream
- Assists in flushing waste, relieves constipation and helps maintain normal bowel function
- Shock absorber for the brain, spinal cord and fetus
- Forms saliva
- Lubricates joints
- Helps deliver oxygen throughout the body
- Necessary for brain function (including mood, memory and performance)
- Headaches and Hangovers
Suffice to say, you will be greatly benefitted by increasing your water intake.