Content by: Deanna Niceski - Accredited Exercise Physiologist
You’re probably thinking ‘I already know how to breathe’ why should I even bother?
I can drop as many knowledge bombs as I like but if it doesn’t spark your why, there’s no point. My job is to educate you through language you resonate to and understand so your overall wellbeing skyrockets. So, I’m going to tap into your why and explain how breathing will help you achieve your goals and become a bad ass at life.
Besides moving do you want to know the secret weapon to improving your wellness and performance? Optimal breathing patterns, it’s that simple (the blog title did give it away). Whether you want to climb Mount Everest, be a Strong[wo]man or simply get up and down off the ground it has extreme relevance to you and whatever your why is.
“If you have dysfunctional breathing patterns where the lungs and chest work too much and the diaphragm not enough, you will pay the price in poor performance and health. It’s that important!”- Dr Perry Nicholson
For us to survive our body needs to do two things; move and breathe and our body doesn’t care how (even at the expense of efficiency), it just needs to be done. When these two variables begin to deteriorate our body begins to implode in itself and that’s where poor performance, restrictions, pain and poor quality of life come into play (plus our bodies always love to take the lazy way out).
Why should you care about breathing? Here’s how it ties into your performance:
Let me introduce you to your diaphragm, the powerhouse of your breathing mechanics, your new best friend and its positive impact on you.
1. Poor breathing = Increase muscle tone + tightness = inefficiency and poor stability. Keeping you in a parasympathetic state (rest and digest) diaphragmatic breathing slows your heart rate and conserves energy.
2. It creates healthy intra-abdominal pressure that helps with decompression and inner core function. This pressure helps your centre steady, providing stability for your lower back.
3. Thoracic and ribcage mobility improves, creating more space for your shoulder to move and your lungs to expand. This is also essential and directly effects your gait mechanics as it allows good movement and flow through our fascial matrix and connective tissue.
4. Improves endurance; when you use your thin, dome muscle (diaphragm) to breathe it gives you more juice in the tank as you don’t just rely on your lung capacity.
5. Reduces tightness in your prime mover muscle; the psoas. Reducing this restriction allows for more hip extension, glute activation and latissimus dorsi engagement. Your whole anterior chain is thankful for this optimal breathing pattern as it reduces restriction in your deep and superficial front line which keeps you more upright, connected and mobile.
6. Improves posture by keeping your neck muscles online and reducing the tension in your upper traps. Like everything associated with your body, it can effect change in your core and stabilisation muscles.
If you’re finding your performance and wellness stuck in a rut, check out your diaphragm function.
To be a champion at life, don’t take the simple act of breathing for granted, it influences you more than you think.
“I’m here to chew bubble-gum and kick ass, and I’m fresh out of bubble gum.”