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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.

High Altitudes. High Risk.

Breathing at high altitudes

If you want to visit the mountains of, say, Colorado for a hiking trip, the altitude’s affect on your body is a necessary consideration. Though most of the Western part of the United States is above sea level, in the mountains you may experience what is considered high altitude, higher than 5,000 feet, or very high altitude above, which is 11,500 feet above sea level. At these levels, noticeable changes will take place in the body.

The air pressure is the same at sea level as at high altitudes, but the oxygen molecules are more dispersed in the air the higher you ascend so there is less oxygen taken in on each breath. Your body will start to create more red blood cells because they are the cells that carry oxygen throughout the blood. Visitors to high altitudes often develop AMS, an acute mountain sickness that can be avoided and usually goes away within a couple of days. Symptoms can include nausea, headache, trouble sleeping and breathing faster and deeper to try to pull in more oxygen. Two other conditions that can strike anyone at a high altitude whether fit or unfit is called high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) and high altitude cerebral edema (HACE). These conditions can be life threatening.

There are ways to enjoy the beauty of the mountains while doing your best to avoid becoming ill. There is a saying, “Climb high, sleep low.” Go to a lower altitude to sleep to avoid oxygen loss. Next, drink up! Staying hydrated is very important. At higher altitudes your body loses fluids faster because of the decreased humidity and increased urination. The body will make up for fluid loss by storing water and sodium which can result in fluid entering the body tissue and cause swelling of the feet, hands and face. Avoid drinking alcohol and caffeinated drinks that dehydrate the body. Nausea is common at high altitudes, but REI says that eating can actually reverse those green feelings. If you are to experience nausea, headache, feeling disoriented, dizzy or develop a persistent cough, descend immediately to a lower altitude.

Breathing deeply to get more oxygen into the blood on each breath will reduce the pressure on your body to compensate for the lack of oxygen at high altitudes. Try using a respiratory trainer. Breathslim will help you take in more oxygen on each breath, something that our bodies desperately need when up in the mountains.

Always remain observant of how your body is responding to altitude changes. Breathing with Breathslim will deliver more oxygen to the blood, but altitude sickness can still occur.

Breathing for Singers

Breathing tips for singers

Singers, both advanced and novice are taught how to properly breathe to “support the tone” and use the diaphragm. However, as it turns out many vocal coaches do not fully understand the body’s physiological uses of its muscles and organs, and hence student singers learn the wrong techniques.

Vocal technique instructor Karyn O’Connor knows the science behind proper breathing and understands how this affects the unique breathing that takes place during singing. She thoroughly outlines this on her website, singwise.com, but I’m going to give you a quick synopsis so you can utilize the respiratory muscles to optimize your vocals.

Controlled breathing is the key. During speaking we tend to breathe in shallow, even breaths. This works decently for its purpose, which is getting about 5 percent of oxygen into the blood on each breath, but it is absolutely not efficient for a singer. O’Connor says that during singing, “we need to inhale quickly and deeply, then exhale slowly and steadily in a long breath.” Singers must train the respiratory muscles to be able to maintain control throughout the process. The muscles in the abdomen are a major contributor to your control. To extend how long you can exhale, you have to keep your sternum raised for as long as possible without raising your shoulders or clavicle.

Supporting the tone can mean very little to singers unless it is fully understood. A part of this is contracting the abdominal muscles so there is more pressure in the abdomen and thorax. Then the diaphragm will rise. O’Connor tells singers to focus their breathing in the soft space between the ribs, below the diaphragm because it allows for the complete filling of the lungs.

During sleep, we breathe the most naturally. Our abdomens rise without the movement of the shoulders or clavicle. If a singer allows his or her chest to rise on when inhaling, the sternum collapses, there is disconnect between the upper and lower muscles in the torso and the lower lobes of the lungs are cut off and not able to fill. That means a shallow breath on the exhale.

Improper breathing feels unnatural, but when we are taught the wrong method we can retrain our bodies to do it right. If you sing with the use of inefficient breathing, you can retrain your lungs with the correct techniques.

Five Best Physically Demanding Summer Vacations

Forget the all-inclusive resorts and swimming pools full of chlorine. Here are five physically demanding vacations full of exploration and adventure. These invigorating activities will get your heart pounding and lungs breathing deep.

1.Great Barrier Reef Australia

Visit one of the world’s natural wonders for some of the best scuba diving in the world. Beginning and experienced divers are all welcome. According to greatbarrierreef.org, a trip here will allow you to experience the “largest collection of corals- around 400 different types, coralsponges, mollusks, rays, dolphins, over 1,500 species of tropical fish, more than 200 types of birds, around 20 types of reptiles including sea turtles and giant clams over 120 years old.”Traveling from mainland Australia and the islands to the reef is super easy. All major cities and towns along the coast and islands make daily trips to the reef by luxury cruisers and sailboat. Depending on your skill level, divers have the option of diving in shallow spots, gentle areas rich in fish and coral for beginners or in outer reefs for more experienced divers.

2.Safari in Kenya with Journeys by Design

Journeys by Design is a UK company that does excellent, custom African travel tours. They work closely with tribal communities such as the Masai and Samburu offering visitors an authentic experience and benefitting locals. In an 11-day trip you’ll ride camels and walk through African tribal villages, catch wildlife at a watering hole and Picnic at OlLolokwe Mountain. The mountain is believed to be the residence of the gods by the Masai people. You’ll experience a hike through the Matthews Range that elephants and leopards call their home. Last is a visit to the “singing wells” to witness chanting Samburu warriors cascade up to 32 feet down into wells to fills water vessels for their cattle.

3. South Island of New Zealand

Mountain Travel Sobek offers a wide range of adventurous tours in all seven continents, but our pick is New Zealand: Southern Beauty. This trip includes exploration of the south island’s mountain, hiking the fjords of Milford Sound and sea kayaking. Visitors will see the deep blue lakes of the Wakatipi Basin that was made famous by the Lord of the Rings films. The trip is designed to minimize driving to really display New Zealand’s intense natural beauty. The new, exclusive selected lodge where you’ll stay is only accessible by a 4×4 vehicle.

4. Machu Picchu

Visit the great urban Inca creation with REI that is enfolded between the Peruvian Andes and the Amazon basin. Hike to what is one of the most applauded architectural developments and the most spectacular of agricultural achievements of the Incan civilization. REI hosts a seven-day tour allowing you to follow in the footsteps of the Inca people. It includes an exploration of South America’s oldest continually inhabited city Cusco, visiting the Pisac ruins, a guided tour of Machu Picchu and views of it from surrounding mountains. Last is a return to Cusco. Each day you’ll hike a glorious two to seven miles to get your heart pumping.

5. Greek Islands

For an active family in for some hiking, swimming and kayaking, head to Athens and the Greek Islands with REI on their Greek Islands Family Adventure. Athens is a city to see by foot. The trip starts with a walking tour of Athens’ historic Plaka, a market area bustling with local Greeks and an exploration of the ancient Acropolis. Soon after you’ll be on a hide speed ferry to Mykonos Island to swim at the beach and hike at the mythical birthplace of Apollo, the Greek god of music. Next you’ll kayak around Santorini, swim in warm volcanic waters and hike to ancient Thira. On this seven-day excursion, you will be immersed in Greek culture and enjoy physical and adventurous activities each day.

Breathing 101

Proper breathing tips!

You are what you breathe
If you’re taking shallow short breaths, you’ll be short on energy and short on patience since poor breathing leads to stress and depression among other unwanted side effects. But if you learn how to breathe properly by taking long deep breaths, you’ll receive a long list of health benefits such as deeper sleep, less stress, greater energy, weight loss, and more.

Let the breaths begin
Sit with your back straight and hands in your lap. Before you take in a deep breath, envision your breath moving down and expanding into your body in the shape of a bell, flaring and pushing down and outward into your abdomen in all directions. Got it?

The glass is half full—of air
Now inhale slowly and deeply for a count of three. Think of your lungs as an empty glass that will be filled with the invisible air you breathe in. Once the imaginary glass is filled with air, pause, and then slowly exhale for three seconds. As you empty your lungs, make sure to use your abdominal muscles to squeeze out all of the air. Now pause for a second, and repeat again.

Healthy habit
If you begin to make this a regular part of your day, you’ll feel an improvement in both your physical and mental health. Of course adopting a new habit isn’t always easy so you’ll have to make a concerted effort to incorporate this into your daily routine. Just set aside five uninterrupted minutes—be it in the morning, on a mid-day break or before bed— when you can sit with your eyes closed and mind focused. Then visualize that bell, that glass, and the newer, healthier you!

Breathing buddy
Once you’re ready to up your breathing exercises from five minutes a day to 20 minutes, check out Breathslim®. The breathing trainer device applies metered aero-dynamic resistance to help improve lung capacity, elevate energy, reduce stress with stress relievers, and oxygenate your body when used during daily, 20-minute exercises.

Stress sucks and needs to be fixed

Stress – Why it is harmful and how to reduce it.

We know that stress causes a whole slew of health problems, and it seems that weight gain is of concern to no end. Proper deep breathing can reduce stress and weight gain, and the best part is that it’s easy to do!

When we’re stressed our bodies produce a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol signals to the liver to make more glucose. If it is not used, that sugar will be reabsorbed by the body. With stress, our metabolism is lowered and with excess sugar in the body, there is weight gain.

So stop the stress! I know, stress-causing situations cannot always be eliminated in our daily lives, but adding a practice of guided, deep breathing can be a personal helper in cutting stress.

Breathslim is a respiratory trainer that increases oxygen intake from 5% to 10% in each inhale and fights the stress and its effects. It trains your body to breath deeper and experience the benefits.

In a three-month study done by the University of Southern California, Breathslim was clinically tested and found to help burn fat. The breath trainer tool aids in taking in more oxygen from the air you breath by helping you breathe deeper. With increased oxygen in your blood, fat is burned through the process of oxidation and increased ATPmore energy. Having more oxygen allows these metabolic processes to take place faster- a higher metabolism. It was also found that people experienced better sleep. Another win!

The usual intake of 5% oxygen from every inhale results in fatigue and stress. Deep breathing does the opposite. Stress is reduced, you will burn more fat cells and will be more alert during the day from better sleep quality. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

The Ultimate Breath Test

Breathing Exercises & Techniques – The Ultimate Breath Test!

It’s test time so take a deep breath and decide whether the following statements are true or false.

1) The average person takes approximately 1,000 breaths every day.

Actually we take 1,000 breaths ever hour so by the end of the day, we’ve racked up 24,000 breaths.

2) Food is our main source of energy.

False. Only 10% of our energy comes from food; 90% of the energy our bodies use comes directly from the breath.

3) Short and shallow breathing is healthier than slower, deeper breathing.

False. Taking slower and deeper breaths provides mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits. It helps strengthen lungs, calms the mind and the nervous system. Also, practicing deep breathing before you go to sleep can ward off insomnia.

4) “Skull Shining Breath” is the name of a breathing technique.

True! Even though it sounds like a Heavy Metal band, “Skull Shining Breath” otherwise called “Kapalabhati” is a technique used to wake up the brain, warm up the body and energize the breather. To practice Kapalabhati, take in a long, slow inhale through the nose, followed by a fast and forceful exhale also through the nose (yet stemming from the lower belly) every one to two seconds, for a total of 10 breaths.

5) Mastering proper breathing is too expensive since I’d have to hire a trainer or join a gym.

False. You don’t need any money to learn how to breathe properly. There is a lot of information online and your local library may have books on the topic. Breathslim® also makes an inexpensive breathing trainer and device that applies metered aero-dynamic resistance during daily, 20 minute exercises to improve lung capacity, elevate energy, reduce stress, and oxygenate your body.