Wearing a face covering is not easy. Some pre-existing health conditions already challenge breathing, making wearing a face covering an added burden. And wearing one on these hot and humid days can be especially hard. Many health and fitness experts question if wearing masks may limit the amount of oxygen our body needs to adequately supply our brain, muscles and organs. Understanding that wearing face masks must be endured for many more months; researchers are emphasizing the importance of proper breathing techniques to maximize our health. When done correctly, breathing keeps the body in acid-base balance allowing tissues to function properly. Many Americans breathe improperly. Using a rapid, shallow style which keeps the body in a state of “heightened alert”, not allowing for a sense of rest or calmness to settle the body. (Hint: Those who are part of the Boost Your Brain & Memory workshop know this as the “Rest and Digest” phase.) An article from the New York Times offers these suggestions to improve our breathing.
First and foremost, it is important to remember that nose breathing is better than mouth breathing. Nose breathing filters the air and stimulates the release of hormones and nitric oxide which helps regulate vital functions like blood pressure. It is common to want to breathe through your mouth when wearing a mask but try to school yourself to inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
Next, focus on diaphragmatic or belly breathing. We have a tendency to only use chest muscles to breathe making our respirations shallow and rapid. Instead, try using your diaphragm. To practice this try, lying on your back with your knees bent. Place one hand on your chest and one on your abdomen. Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose causing the hand on your abdomen to rise (4 count). Your chest remains still. Then exhale through pursed lips (6 count). Rest (2 count). Try doing this each morning and night while in bed.
Finally, just before putting on your mask take 5 good high quality breaths to build your blood oxygen levels and enter the “rest and digest” phase. Repeat this as soon as you remove your face mask. (Shout out to Mary Ruehl. Thanks for sharing this article.)
Answers to Factoid Friday, July 3rd:
While visiting a family member, I learned some merger acquisition investment tips I thought I would share some insider secrets.
Enjoy your “Twisted Tuesday”.