Thursday, July 30, 2015

Learning to breathe.

You can learn a lot from a rabbit.
I think, after all these years of doing it, that I do not know how to breathe correctly.  Astonishing!  Could it be?  This crept into my mind a while ago but just as quickly crept out again.  Then last weekend I was in the middle of a long climb on the Warbird, a climb that was difficult and had me right below redline a good part of the time.  And I became aware of the fact that I was breathing shallow and fast, mostly from the chest/rib cage area.

And I thought back to an article I read that, IIRC, referred to Eddy Merxx and spoke about his 'paunch'...his beer belly look that was a result of bringing into play his belly area to expand the capacity of his lungs.  Now for all I know, Eddy might knock down a beer or two or three and maybe it is a bit of that too, but I never forgot that.

So in the middle of the climb, I began to breathe deeply, consciously allowing my belly to expand, feeling the lungs go just a bit 'more', if you will, then expelling the lungs with a good push.  I found that I dropped farther away from redline and my suffering dropped down a notch.  I did not have a heart rate monitor on, but it would have been interesting to see if that was affected.
I just know that it hurt less and I had more room for harder, short efforts without tipping over the edge.  My legs felt better too, but mostly it was cardio bennies I was seeing.  The funny thing was that I had to really concentrate to breathe this way.  As soon as I stopped thinking about it, I stopped doing it.  As well, it did not feel natural when I was doing it.  It felt good in a way but bad in a way, like I was betraying what I knew how to do well from if I took two steps, then hopscotched the next one before the next regular step, etc.  Just not natural.

So I need to play with this more, but it seems there is science behind this, which actually does not surprise me.

Linky number 1  Linky Number 2

Now I figure it this way...the bigger the belly the bigger the breath.  Bring on the donuts and Fritos, I have a hill to climb.

Look at them lungs, huh? I am gonna crush the next hill.

1 comment:

Rob said...

Thanks for the link!

You're correct in your assumption that belly breathing is beneficial, in fact, the diaphragm is really one of the most important muscles in the body, and part of the core stability system as well.

Add to the fact that many relaxing breath techniques involve breathing through the diaphragm and you have some compelling evidence to practice it on a regular basis.