There are a lot of things you can do for one hour.
You can relax luxuriously in your bed while you stare at your friends’ Facebook feeds on your device.
You can plop down in front of the television and try to win a game of Fortnite against 99 people from around the globe.
Or, you can hop in the car, drive to Grand Trunk CrossFit, and put yourself through an intense workout that is going to leave you feeling energized and rejuvenated.
In fact, we compel you to find something you can do in sixty minutes that is better for your body than one hour of high intensity exercise. You are not going to feel great during the WOD (that’s the point) but you’re going to feel better about yourself when you’re splayed out on the floor catching your breath, even as your limbs are screaming at you for putting them through their paces. A smile might even creep across your face because you know you’ve just done something worthwhile.
One of the hardest things about CrossFit (or any type of exercise, for that matter) is getting up off the couch and making your way to the gym. It’s a lot easier to just sit there and do nothing. But, we opine that, once you are at the gym, you’ve done 90 percent of the work. It’s a lot easier, then, to go through with exercise when your peers surround you. It’s even easier when you remember they also wanted to sit on the couch and veg, but the lure of feeling energetic compelled them to work up a good sweat.
Look, there is mounds of evidence available that says working out is better than not working out, so we admit that if you haven’t done it already, this blog post might not be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
But if we can convince even one reader to give it a shot, or do some type of physical activity, then we’ve done our jobs.
After all, working out is better than not working out, even if the thought of moving your body leaves you reminiscing about your comfy bed.
Don’t worry – it will be there when you get back.
Sign up for a free, no-sweat intro today!
Breathing is a unique process in the human body. It can occur voluntarily or involuntarily, be a conscious or unconscious decision, and is constantly responding to feedback from sensors in your body. Oftentimes are breathe is being stifled by our emotional state, body position, or
Posture and breath
When you inhale your diaphragm contracts and moves downward expanding the chest cavity and giving the lungs space to expand. This simultaneously lifts the ribs and sternum. When you exhale the diaphragm relaxes and expands into the chest cavity as the ribs and sternum lower.
The key muscles or primary movers in this process are the diaphragm, intercostal muscles, and abdominal muscles. Secondary mover muscles include upper trapezius, scalenes, sternocleidomastoid, levator scapulae, and pectoralis minor.
Poor posture categorized by rounded shoulders and a forward head position can cause these secondary movers to become tight and overworked. This leads to a decline in respiratory function which can further exacerbate the breathing muscles and contribute to even worse posture.
To jump start your muscles involved in breathing try out this stretching and breath practice from Jill Miller at Yoga Tune Up: The Abdominal Vacuum
So you might be wondering why you should worry about your breath when it’s so easy you can literally do it in your sleep?
Let’s start with the the one we all care about:
- Improved performance
A study at the University of Portsmouth showed that runners who performed inspiratory muscle warm-ups and training experienced a whopping 15% increase in performance after just 6 weeks.
Bringing a mindful focus to breath can also help improve energy. Individuals who practice deep breathing exercises report more energy, improved mental acuity, and getting a better night’s sleep.
An improvement in breath capacity will lead to a healthier digestive tract. The body has more energy to allocate towards digestion and is more efficient at eliminating toxins.
- Decrease Stress
Breathing techniques that are designed to bring increased awareness the breath can carry over to other areas of life. It trains the mind to be less emotionally reactive while simultaneously reducing cortisol levels.
- Heart Rate
Breathing practice has been shown to lower resting heart rate and blood pressure. Try deep belly breaths where the stomach fully expands and holding in at the full exhalation and inhalation points.
Many breathing techniques are geared towards unwinding, shutting down, and moving away from the flight or fight response we are used to feeling. Breath work also has many powerful applications to get us fired up and improve our performance.
When lifting heavy weights, a full belly breath can be held inside the abdomen throughout the lift. This Valsalva Maneuver provides internal pressure that supports the spine and braces the skeletal muscle throughout the lift. Limit this maneuver for maximal exertion efforts (eg. greater than 80% of your 1rm and 5 reps or less in your working set).
Breathing can also be used to prime your body into a peak state. Using rapid forced inhales and exhales through the nostrils will stimulate the immune system, increase circulation, and leave you feeling alive, alert, and awake.
Now that you know a little about how breathing affects your daily life and the systems of your body what areas do you want to incorporate a breathing practice into? Whether its for our health, relaxation purposes, or to improve our athletic performance we could all benefit from taking a deep breath now and then!
If you’re interested in CrossFit, sign up today for a free, no-sweat intro!
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