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Breathing exercises to power your run (and legs)

Pilates cross-training exercise - The Hundred

Oxygen fuels are bodies just as food does. How often have you found yourself thinking that if only you could get more air faster, you’d be able to power up a hill in a jog, or at least maintain pace? While most runners focus on training their legs and heart, few pay attention to the benefits that respiratory training can have on endurance and overall performance. After all, better breathing means more oxygen for your muscles.

Scientists at Brunel University in England recently found that marathoners’ fatigue levels and breathing. The runners whose breathing was most strained were found to have the most leg weakness. This led the team to conclude that respiratory muscles power the legs. The key? Deep breathing. Below are three pilates cross-training exercises to minimize the panting and maximize the power.

The Hundred

Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keep your arms at your sides, palms down. Inhale and lift your head, neck, shoulders, and arms off the ground as much as you can. Lift your knees and pull your feet out in front of you so that your legs are straight and at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Take five short breaths in and five short breaths out while pumping your arms, moving them in small circles. Do a cycle of 10 full breaths, which is comprised of five inhales and five exhales. By the time that you do 10 complete breaths, you should have also completed 100 arm pumps.

Pilates cross-training exercise - The Hundred

The Swan

Lie face down with your palms flat under your shoulders (as if you were going to do a pushup). Look down so your neck is in line with your spine and inhale while slowly lifting your head, neck, shoulders, and chest as you press your hands into the ground. This is almost like a pushup except that you keep your legs flat on the ground. Keep a slight bend in your elbows. As you exhale, slowly lower yourself back down chest first, then the shoulders, neck, chin, and head. To avoid discomfort or pain in your back and neck, pull your shoulders back to open up your chest. Repeat the up and down 10 times

Pilates cross-training exercise - The Swan

Standing Chest Expansion

Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, your knees slightly bent, and your arms at your sides. Inhale and lift your arms up and out so that your biceps are near your ears and your palms are facing each other (touchdown stance). Exhale and lower your arms back down to your sides. Repeat four times, concentrating on deep breathing and opening up your chest.

Pilates cross-training exercise - Standing Chest Expansion

Laughter Breathing Is As Strange And Fun As It Sounds

Learn the techniques of Laughter Breathing Exercises

Many people think of breathing as just inhaling and exhaling in rhythm, and most people don’t think of breathing at all. There are many different styles of breathing and breathing exercises that have a unique effect on the body. The way you breath and the kind of exercises that you do, or don’t do, have a large impact on your day-to-day life in ways you probably don’t realize. You may deal with stress, exhaustion, and lack of focus and just attribute it to everyday life in a busy world. This may be true to an extent, but there are ways to decrease the influence it has on your life and wellbeing by incorporating breathing exercises like laughter breathing into your daily routine.

Laughter breathing is a growing trend with laughter yoga classes sprouting up as well. These work best in a group so call some friends over to give this a shot.

Meringue Hips Laughter

Move your hips left to right in sets of two – 1, 2 – 1, 2. Walk around with your “meringue hips” and big a friend a light hip-check and let out a deep belly laugh.

Bowing Elbow Greeting

Bend your arms up in front of you with elbows pointing out from your shoulders. Make your elbows bow to others and give a big laugh.

Sumo Wrestler

As you take deep, slow breaths, connect with a partner from across the room and walk over in a mimicked stomp, as if you’re a heavy sumo wrestler.

Wellness Week Leads to Healthy Living Year-Round

National Wellness Week launched in America focusing on healthy living habits

In an effort to encourage living well, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration launched National Wellness Week in September. The campaign collides with National Recovery Month which has promoted the benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for 25 years. Like Recovery Month, National Wellness Week shows how healthy habits can improve one’s physical, emotional, and spiritual state.

To spread the message across the country, the Star Center hosted free webinars on Collaborative Leadership, The Life Changing Power of Self Directed Care and Peer Support, while individual states participated with the local level with their own events.

West Coast Wellness

In Arizona, residents enjoyed farmers’ market and wellness activities in Apache Junction as a recovery and wellness community forum took place in Tucson. Wellness mentoring, free yoga, chair massages and other giveaways abounded across California.

East Coast Wellness

Washington D.C. let loose with free Zumba classes as well as offering local strategies for improving blood pressure control. In Connecticut, a walking club motivated exercise in the Norwich’s Mohegan Park, while those in Baltimore, Maryland celebrated with a flash-mob for mental health awareness.

Southern Wellness

During National Wellness Week, the 2014 National Peer Support Conference took place in Atlanta as well as Reiki healing sessions for children and adults. At the same time, wellness pros flocked to an Annual Meeting & Exposition in New Orleans.

Midwest Wellness

In Chicago, the 5th Annual Executive Forum on Creating a Culture of Health & Wellness was hosted at Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, as neighbors enjoyed NAMI walks in Little Rock, Arkansas; Boise, Idaho; Davenport and Iowa City, Iowa.

Of course, practicing healthy habits can be done anywhere—and at any time. It need not be restricted to seven days a year. Walks can be taken during the warmer weather and breathing exercises can be performed indoors no matter the season, climate, or an individual’s level of physical strength.

The simple act of deep breathing can help people recover from depression and anxiety but since most Americans take shallow breaths, they need to retrain themselves to breathe in a healthier manner. The respiratory trainer from Breathslim® is a health and wellness tool that uses metered aero-dynamic resistance. When used during daily, 20 minute exercises, it can improve lung capacity, elevate energy, reduce stress, and oxygenate your body.

Respiratory Illness Grips the United States

Respiratory illness in the United States and how to prevent it

Autumn hasn’t come in full strength yet, but there is already an illness sweeping the United States. More than 20 states have reported cases of respiratory illness, some of which have required children to be sent to the hospital. In Kansas City, Missouri alone, more than 300 cases of respiratory illness were reported in August, 15 percent of which placed children in the ICU. From mid-August to September 19, 2014, there were 160 confirmed cases in 22 states.

The disease is enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) and there are reported cases throughout the country, especially in the Midwest. It mostly affects children and the symptoms are similar to those of an intense cold, and can be easy to miss. The treatment is also a lot like treating a heavy cold.

In addition to not spending time with people that are sick, the best way to avoid respiratory illness is to wash your hands often and avoid sharing utensils with someone who has contracted a respiratory illness – this includes towels. The disease is passed through respiratory fluids, particularly saliva and snot, so it passes from person to person through a cough or sneeze. It also transferred on shared surfaces so make it a habit not to touch your face during this season.

There isn’t a vaccine for EV-D68 and most cases people won’t even know that they have the virus and will think that it’s just a severe cold instead. What worries doctors is that an infection in the respiratory tract can restrict airways and cause breathing difficulty and wheezing. Children with asthma are particularly susceptible.

Help your family avoid respiratory illness with meticulous hygiene and strengthening their respiratory tract. Conducting breathing exercises can make your kids more relaxed and provides a wealth of health benefits, the most important of which is strengthening the lungs.

Get in on the Breathslim Buzz

woman telling secrets, pop art retro style illustration

Oscar Wilde once said, “The only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about” so clearly the folks at Breathslim® must be pleased their respiratory trainer is creating a buzz from websites such as Dude I Want That.

Known as a geek’s gift guide to gadgets, gear and novelties, Dude I Want That reports, “On the one hand, the Breathslim apparatus looks ridiculous. Like something the infirm folk would be required to use from a hospital bed or nursing home…On the other hand, Breathslim reviews aren’t bad.”

It’s true! The Max Fitness site confirms Breathslim is an effective way to combat insomnia and get a better, deeper sleep in general. “It was hard to get used to breathing with the stomach muscles and I had to consciously focus on inhaling and exhaling to ensure that my chest did not move,” reports Max Frankel. “After a few minutes, this new way of breathing became a decently natural process; while doing work on my laptop I had barely even noticed that this wired white hose was hanging out of my mouth! After 5 to 10 minutes, I began to feel a deep relaxation, a serious ‘wow’ moment. I turned to my girlfriend and told her that I felt like I had taken a sleeping pill. My mood was pleasant, I was drowsy, and before I knew it I was fast asleep with the Breathslim lying on the bed!”

Acupuncturist author Dr. Mark Sircus, Ac., OMD, DM (P) says doing breathing exercises with Breathslim can also benefit asthma sufferers as well as those seeking to lose weight, explaining, “This is the machine to use for your breathing retaining and it really is quite nice to blow bubbles as one increase the oxygenation of one’s cells and tissues…created to help asthma sufferers the Breathslim breathing device is serious medicine. Sold in the United States it is now being marketed for weight loss because it increased oxygen and metabolism to a significant enough level as to burn more fat thus helping to lose weight and keep it off.”

Internationally renowned scientist, writer and breathing trainer Artour Rakhimov, PhD adds, “If we practice continuously for, let’s say 15 to 20 minutes, our breathing pattern will be changed because the breathing center is going to adapt to higher CO2 levels. At once we finish the exercises there is a noticeable effect: breathing becomes slower and lighter; and that effect is going to last for many hours.” Yet the breathing expert suggests Breathslim may not help sleepers who breath through their mouths, nor will it result in weight loss without users adding additional exercise and other healthy habits to their lifestyle.

The review at Normal Breathing concurs, stating, “In order to achieve certain success with Breathslim, one needs to increase his or her morning body-oxygen levels. Correction of lifestyle risk factors is necessary for a more efficient breath-changing and life-changing project. Obviously, following two central rules of the Buteyko method (eat only when you are hungry and stop eating at the first signs of satiety) are also important for Breathslim to work.”

Of course, there’s no way to know if Breathslim can help you lose weight, gain sleep gain, renew energy or obtain a youthful glow unless you try it for yourself. The inexpensive drug and chemical free respiratory trainer is available at

Combat Depression with Deep Breathing

Combat Depression with Deep Breathing Exercises

The world was stunned when the news of Robin Williams’s suicide surfaced. Unfortunately his story is not unique. Funnymen Richard Jeni, Charles Rocket and Freddie Prinze also committed suicide after losing battles to depression. Of course, one doesn’t have to be a professional comedian to suffer from this dangerous disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 90% of people who take their own lives are diagnosed with depression or another mental illness. A report done in 2013 also suggests baby boomers suffering from depression are more likely to consider suicide than other generation groups.

To dull the pain of depression, many turn to drugs or alcohol but this only worsens the situation. Healthier options are available and must be used as part of a strategy to properly combat depression.

Often when a person’s mood is low, their breathing is shallow and constricted. This causes an inadequate supply of oxygen in the blood and can result in an emotional imbalance. Fortunately, there are simple breathing exercises to deepen one’s breathing and lighten one’s mood.

If you close your eyes and focus all your attention on breathing deeply, you can relax your body. This will allow you to open your mind and welcome in positive thoughts. Simply increase the depth of your breath so you are taking four or fewer breaths every 60 seconds. Try this for five minutes and see how much better you feel.

To be less depressed and more energized, try this exercise. First, sit on a chair with your back straight and feet flat on the floor. Reach straight up with both hands. Then, inhale deeply. As you hold your breath, squeeze your fists before exhaling slowly. Imagine you are pulling down on rubber bands as you lower your fists to your chest. Now, repeat this a couple more times.

When you’re almost ready to finish, cross your arms over your chest. Rest your fingers on your chest, with your wrists crossed in the middle. Drop your chin to your chest and inhale four short breaths without exhaling. Hold your breath before finally exhaling slowly through your mouth. Then, repeat for a few more minutes.

If this exercise sounds too complicated, you may want to first try basic breathing exercises with a respiratory trainer such as Breathslim®. This handy device can help you pay attention to your breathing and literally change your life for the better.

New App for Respiratory Diagnosis and Training

Not breathing properly? There’s an app for that. BreathResearch Inc. (BRI) has a staff of health practitioners, scientists, and engineers that has developed the MyBreath Lite app (with MyBreath Pro coming soon), which records, evaluates, and trains your breathing.

MyBreath Lite Smartphone App for Respiratory Diagnosis and Training

The free app is an integrated system that screens and optimizes your respiration when at rest or while exercising. To get started you just download the app on your smartphone, follow the prompts, and record your breathing for one to three minutes. The app will give you your BRI score and rate it on a scale from optimal to strained, also denoting the perceived level of stress. There are seven metrics in all, which include: rate, depth, tension, flow, variability, apnea, and cycle. You can also see your inhalation exhalation ratio that reveals if your breaths are balanced.

MyBreath then trains you with an animated guide that also sets up practice sessions and monitors yours goals. Your reward? Feeling wonderful and being healthy… and actual rewards. MyBreath offers a variety of rewards like free gift cards, coupons on healthy foods and drinks, and other discounts on retail items.

Smartphone App for Breath Training and Monitoring

Another component is the Breath Project, which is designed to help you improve your health by understanding the significance of your breathing patterns. You can sign up to receive training tips, exercise plans, updates on its system and other new technologies, and special offers.


Download the app and find a new way to commit to preventative health practices, or to remedy an ailment. We have long written about the health benefits of proper breathing and the detriments of shallow, ineffective breathing. The body is a unified system so weak breathing reaches beyond being a “lung problem” and makes itself known in your nervous system, brain function, heart rate, energy, and more. Monitor your breath and train your respiratory system regularly.


Athletes, Increase Your Endurance!

How athletes can increase endurance

Runners, bikers and swimmers – surely you have noticed when you are running harder, or for an extended period of time, your leg muscles become fatigued. However, it’s not necessarily your leg muscles that are the first to become strained. When you run, bike and swim, it is more likely that your respiratory muscles are the first to become tired. It is important to remember that respiratory muscles are just as susceptible to overexertion as your body’s other muscles.

While you’re running and you feel your legs become fatigued, this is because the nervous system has redirected oxygen delivery to your respiratory muscles to keep them going and to not allow them to become fatigued to a dangerous extent. When your limb muscles do not have enough oxygen, they become tired and start to feel limp and heavy.

To increase your respiratory muscle endurance, you can train the muscles with deeper breathing to strengthen them. They can be trained separately from the rest of your body. Using a respiratory trainer like Breathslim, you’ll use your respiratory muscles at a higher capacity, sometimes even more than when you’re actually running, biking or swimming. Without the rest of your body needing excessive oxygen, the tool helps strengthen in the chest cavity.

With stronger respiratory muscles, your endurance and athletic performance will take off.