Aside from the obvious of keeping us alive and flowing oxygen into our brains we can use breathing techniques to help us all in the most extreme of circumstances to simply helping us fall asleep.
We will be sharing three different strategies that will help you on your journey towards becoming the best version of yourself and living your best life.
The three areas we’ll touch on are below:
- Tactical breathing to reduce stress, calming down and helping with anxiety
- Imaginary breathing to help fall asleep
- Proper breathing for strength training
Tactical breathing is a technique used by special forces in the military and other people in high stress related professions. I was fortunate to learn about this technique while attending an active shooter course in an office I once worked at and it was such a great technique that I’ve shared with many over the years close to me and now I’m sharing with YOU!
It’s a pretty simple technique to help calm you down wherever you are, no matter the situation, I’ve even used it at the dentist to help with the anxiety I feel when I’m in THE CHAIR!!!
Ok, enough about me and my experiences, let’s get to it.
- First begin by inhaling through your nose while counting in your head at a pace of 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3 Mississippi, 4 Mississippi
- After your last inhale pause and hold your breath for another four count 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3 Mississippi, 4 Mississippi as you did above.
- Finally exhale while counting 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3 Mississippi, 4 Mississippi all the way to 7 this time.
REPEAT this breathing pattern 4 to 5 times for optimal stress relief and relaxation.
Imaginary breathing is another technique that I use personally to help me fall asleep at times, especially when my mind doesn’t want to shut off and instead it insists on thinking of every and anything possible to keep me awake.
This is another really simple technique that requires a little imagination (hence the name) but will relax you and you may even fall asleep with a smile on your face, haha.
- COMFORT: First get into a comfortable position laying on your back (I tend to sleep on my side or stomach but I’ve only used this technique to fall asleep on my back).
- SCENEARY: Once you’re lying on your back nice and comfortable with your eyes closed, you will simply begin to imagine yourself laying on a beach chair on one of the most beautiful places your mind can imagine. It’s totally up to you on the time of day or evening it is, but whatever time it is make sure it’s a time you’re most likely to fall asleep as if this were real. Lastly Imagine the weather is perfect and it’s time to sleep.
- BREATHING: For the breathing portion this is where my favorite part comes in. Since you’re on the beach with your eyes closed on this comfortable bed on the beach, you’ll be able to hear the ocean. You will begin by inhaling through your nose to the pace of the ocean water running upon the beach. As you the water pauses briefly at its furthest point you too will pause for a moment and then begin to exhale through your mouth while making a whoosh sound that mimics the water receding back into the ocean.
It’s that simple and you will repeat until you fall asleep.
Proper breathing for strength training
You’d be surprised how many people don’t get the most out of their workout simply by not breathing properly. Although all three breathing techniques are easy to practice and remember, this one will probably be the easiest.
When we strength train it doesn’t really matter if we’re lifting light weight or heavier weight, the same principles apply, you want to get the most out of the time you’re putting in to either be healthier or simply look better naked. Whatever your reasoning for strength training is, we all want to maximize our results.
As I’m writing this I am assuming:
- That you know what a repetition is, if not it’s simply repeating whatever exercise you’re doing. Ex: If you were squatting 10 times, that is the same as doing 10 repetitions.
Now that we have that out of the way, most exercises you ever do while strength training will consist of a movement that is generally either pulling or pushing. (Here’s a rule of thumb, there will be certain exercises that may not fit into those two but we’ll discuss the failsafe way to ensure you breathe properly regardless).
EXHALE with ENERGY
So here we go, when you’re doing your strength training exercises always remember to simply EXHALE with ENERGY!
If you remember this concept, you’ll never breathe incorrectly again. What I mean by this term is whenever your strength training, regardless of what exercise you’re doing, there’s a point where you’re using most of your effort or ENERGY to perform the repetition.
Ex #1: If you were Squatting then you would be inhaling as you went down with the weight and then you would exhale when standing back up because that’s the point where you use the most energy.
Ex #2: If you were doing pull ups, you would exhale as you pull yourself up on the bar and inhale as you drop yourself down because when you’re pulling yourself up is when you use the most energy.
Ex #3: If you were to lay on your stomach and do Pushups, you would exhale when pushing up because that’s when you’re using the most energy and inhale on the way down.
Going to throw some strength training exercises that you may do as a very quick reference and additional examples to make sure you get this simple concept. (if you aren’t familiar with certain exercises just Google them so that you know what we’re referring to)
- Leg extensions- Exhale as you raise your legs up, inhale as you lower them
- Bicep curls- Exhale as you curl the weight up, inhale as you lower it
- Sit ups, crunches or alternate abdominal exercises- exhale as you crunch up
Always remember that you could reach out to us for questions on the “Contact us” tab if there’s something you’re unsure about and we’ll be glad to respond as soon as possible.
Well that’s all for this JUST BREATHE blog and if you enjoyed this please let us know by reaching out, following us on Social Media and referring your friends and family to our sight. We want you to become the best version of yourself so that you could live your best life and we will continue to work towards that Ultimate goal here at Ultimate You.
By Tony Thompson