Most people have heard or read that breathing while lifting is important, not only to keep you from becoming dizzy and too out of breath but also to help transport oxygen to your muscles. But what many people don’t understand is that breathing while lifting actually has a much more important benefit than just combating muscle fatigue.
If you are breathing correctly, your diaphragm should descend and your rib cage should expand and when this happens there will be a drop in pressure in your chest cavity. When this drop in pressure occurs blood is drawn from the brain to the heart, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) moves up the spinal cord to the brain. CSF provides nourishment and protection for our central nervous system’s most important components; our brain and spine. So it is important to breathe correctly or you will not be getting adequate nourishment to your brain or spine. This can lead to trouble concentrating, learning, and can also affect sleep.
One of the main hindrances to good breathing is being in a constant sympathetic state also known as a fight-or-flight response. This could be due to something as simple as stress from work, school, or even simply from working out. When your body is in a constant state of stress, movement patterns can be altered including breathing movement patterns. Low back pain is actually very closely linked to improper breathing and can lead to severe postural issues if not corrected. Disc herniation and nerve pain are two common issues associated with lower back pain.
In order to improve your breathing techniques you must practice breathing and controlling your breath. Focus on your breath during yoga would be a great place to start along with during meditation. Both of these activities will also help you relax which in turn leaves less restriction to each breath. By learning to breathe easier, deeper, and better overall, you will start improving many aspects of life. You will start to notice better range of motion throughout all of your joints, less tension in your upper and lower back, better muscle activation, more restful sleep at night, and most importantly an improve in your health overall.