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Are You Getting Enough Oxygen?

Most people don’t think much about breathing. It just happens, right? Either you’re breathing and you’re alive, or you’re not breathing.

Actually, there’s a third option – that you are breathing in enough oxygen to survive, but not as much as you could be.

Oxygen is of course the lifeblood of health. Everything works better when there is an abundance of it. You can still survive in less than optimal conditions though.

I remember the last time my family and I went to the Rocky Moutains in beautiful Colorado. After driving all the way from Illinois, we finally arrived and were all excited for our first hike.

Surprisingly, after hiking ten minutes, I was feeling pretty tired. What happened? I thought I was in pretty good shape?

As you probably know, the air is thinner as you get up higher, meaning that there’s less oxygen to breathe. Receiving less oxygen than they were used to, my muscles were having a hard time keeping up.

Again, I was surviving, but I wasn’t thriving.

So what if I told you that your poor breathing techniques were mimicking the effects of Colorado-like air, and you were systematically robbing your lungs, brain, and muscles of the oxygen they need to operate optimally.

Here’s two things you can do to increase your oxygen intake.

One – Have good posture. Sit up tall with your chest out and your shoulders back. Think of your lungs as a balloon. When you have poor, hunched-forward posture, your ribcage blocks that balloon from inflating fully. Good posture will allow full inflation.

Two - Fill up your stomach when you breathe. As you inhale, you should see your stomach moving out. This is how it’s supposed to work.

If you ever watch a baby breathe while they are lying on the ground, you will see their stomach moving up and down.

Most people, as they get older, become chest breathers, meaning their chest rises, but their stomach doesn’t inflate. This is a sign that you are only filling up your lungs partially, resulting in less oxygen intake.

Here’s an exercise for you. Sit up tall, and take a long deep breath in through the nose. Let your stomach relax and inflate. Then exhale out your nose. Do this five times.

You can do this several times a day or whenever you think about it. 

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