3 Steps to Vibrant Energy
Attaining ENERGY is what health and fitness is really all about.
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Think about it. Energy is the key of life. Without it, plants cannot grow, our cells cannot function, our bodies cannot move and our brains cannot think. Lack of energy, or low energy is the first step towards illness and disease. To move toward our goals of good health, fitness and well-being,we must be sure that what we do helps us to build energy.
The first step is to use oxygen or “energy training” to build cardiovascular condition, muscular strength and endurance, mental focus, emotional power and to reduce stress. Consider the following:
1. Fresh Air
We need air every minute of every day. We can live without food and water for days, however if we are without air for a few minutes, we will go unconscious and die. Just as we have learned about the importance of good nutrition, we must understand the value of fresh air to fuel our body, calm our mind, and rejuvenate our spirit.
Energy in our body comes from our cells. Cells and their mitochondria are the “power plants” or energy producers in our body, and while during exercise the presence of oxygen burns fat, it is also what the fuels these power plants.
2. Proper Breathing
"Breathing is the FIRST place not the LAST place one should investigate when any disordered energy presents itself." —Sheldon Saul Hendler, MD PhD
Proper breathing is a fitness tool and an integral part of any program, because it increases exercise effectiveness, quiets the body and soothes the mind. It draws in the positive benefits of fresh air—especially when the full lung capacity is utilized.
In the book, The Oxygen Breakthrough, researcher and internist, Sheldon Saul Hendler, writes about the "breakthrough" in terms of proper breathing. He points out that proper breathing is a “fitness mechanism that is easy to learn”. He further points out, “Fatigue and immunosupression are often caused, and always aggravated by poor oxygenation, both through the lungs, and through the cell membranes.”
Bottom Line: Breathing is the first place to look when fatigue or other forms of distress presents itself.
Thoracic breathing is associated with shallow breathing and gasping. This type of breathing can activate the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), and lead to increased heart rate and blood pressure, neck and shoulder tension, dizziness and anxiety. It can adversely affect physical and mental performance by causing shortness of breath, cramps, muscle pain, tension, fatigue, weakness and loss of concentration.
3. Diaphragmatic Breathing
Conversely, a series of deep or diaphragmatic breaths will fully oxygenate, energize and positively stimulate the bodies’ systems. When our cells get oxygen, they produce energy, when they have energy, they can more easily go to work. To maximize full lung capacity, we must learn how to breathe properly and incorporate such breathing daily.
Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercise - The "Reverse Breath"
Take a breath in. Now exhale slowly and completely—all the way, until there is no more air left to exhale. Repeat the process. Now, take a moment to notice what happens. What did you notice?
When you expel air out fully, you will automatically take more air in. Your lungs will act as a vacuum to expand fully and draw the maximum amount of air in. With this outcome in mind, it’s easier to think of the exhalation phase as the primary phase of breathing—rather than the inhalation phase.