Breathing is getting more and more attention, mainly in the meditation and mindfulness space. While it can be beneficial to focus on the breath during those moments, what about the rest of the time?
e do it all day every day and arguably take breathing for granted, but there is a correct way to breathe. This week I’m joined by breathing expert, Patrick McKeown to tell us how one simple change to our breathing can improve our health and wellness.
Patrick says we have been taught to take long deep breaths as a way of taking a hold of our stress and calming ourselves down. While the concept is true, Patrick says we aren’t doing it properly.
“It's the speed of the exhalation that tells the brain whether we are stressed whether there is a threat or whether everything is safe. All the brain wants to do is to protect us.
Real Health Podcast: How one small change to your breathing can improve your health with Patrick McKeown
“If you breathe out fast, it's a stressor... Taking, say, a normal breath in, silent through the nose, and then a really slow and relaxed exhalation over maybe five, six, seven, eight seconds and continuously doing that in 30 seconds, you would start changing your physiology.”
Patrick also says we should be breathing through our noses, not our mouths. While this in theory sounds easy, what about when you are out for a run or at the gym? How beneficial is nasal breathing when exercising?
“When you do your physical exercise, the benefits; it's protecting the airways. You've got improved blood circulation, improved oxygen delivery, but also the communication from your nose to the brain.” Patrick says.
“But what's more, when you breathe through your nose during physical exercise, that adds an extra load onto the diaphragm, it slows down your breathing.”
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