With the confusing myriad of exercise programs out there, people often have difficulty choosing -- and sticking to -- a healthy physical regimen. It's not all about burning up the calories, either. The reason aerobic exercise is good for us is because it enables us to take in more oxygen, expel carbon dioxide and give that muscle known as our heart a healthy workout. Do you know that you can also begin improving your health by simply changing the way you breathe throughout the day? When we breathe too shallowly, which many of us do, over time our chest and lung tissue can become constricted. This reduces the flow of oxygen to all our tissues. Consciously practicing deep, rhythmic breathing throughout the day has a number of benefits, including expansion of the diaphragm, the cone-shaped muscle beneath our lungs. It also expands the air pockets in our lungs, which triggers a relaxation response in our bodies.
But it's not just about the lungs and the heart. When we breathe our circulatory system carries oxygen and nutrients throughout our body; the lymphatic system completes the equation by eliminating what we don't need. Deep, regular breathing stimulates and enhances the functioning of our lymphatic system, which in turn carries away toxins, dead blood cells and other matter that our body no longer requires.
Start being healthier and more relaxed right now. Before you get up from your chair, take a few moments to sit up straight. Breathe in deeply, expanding your chest and filling your lungs with air. Slowly exhale. Repeat three or four times. You've just taken a great first step toward better health!
Article by Kim Washetas, contributing writer and enthusiastic whole health advocate.