Breath… Providing The Spark Of Life

Here is a riddle… 

What is something you do 20,000 – 30,000 times per day, hardly ever think about, and if you stopped for even 3 minutes, you would be dead?

Well, the title of the article probably gave it away, but the answer is… breathing! Breathing occurs involuntarily and is essential to provide our bodies with oxygen.

When you inhale breath into your lungs, blood cells in your lungs absorb oxygen and carry this oxygen to every single cell in your body. Each cell in your body also “breathes,” taking in oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide.  

It is easy to take oxygen for granted, but this element is truly the force of life. 

Without oxygen, there would be no water. 

Without oxygen, fires cease to burn. 

Without oxygen, your cells die. 

Oxygen is required for every cell to function, as oxygen is needed by cells to create energy from the food we eat. Without oxygen, our cells suffer. 

In the textbook, Textbook of Medical Physiology, Dr. Authur C Gyuyton explains, “All chronic pain, suffering, and diseases are caused from a lack of oxygen at the cellular level.” 

Yikes! 

Although it may be difficult for us to comprehend our cells at a microbiological level, we have all felt our legs muscles feel tired and “noodly” after a long walk, physical exertion, or after a challenging leg workout. 

We have probably also felt mentally foggy at the end of the day when oxygen intake to our brain has slowed due to a lack of movement and work stress. Both of these conditions are a result of a lack of oxygen supply to the cells in our muscles and brain. 

Getting enough oxygen involves more than just increased breathing. Of course, taking the time to breathe properly is important. Follow these steps to improve your healthy oxygen intake.  

Breathe properly 

To receive healthy amounts of oxygen, breathing properly is essential. Proper breathing occurs by inhaling through your nose and breathing into your diaphragm. Often we are stressed, we breathe shallowly into our chest. When we are breathing correctly, in a relaxed state, we breathe into our lower lungs. As a baby’s stomach rises and falls when it breathes, ours should do the same. Diaphragm breathing is the most efficient way to breathe that provides maximum oxygen to your body. 

Reduce stress  

Stress can wreak havoc on our respiratory system. Stress causes us to take shallow breathes by producing the adrenaline and cortisol, hormones that put us in a “fight and flight” state. 

When we are in a “fight or flight” state, our body delivers oxygen primarily to our large muscles for mobilization. In the days where humans had to escape from dangerous predators or fight for our lives, this reaction was critical as it delivered oxygen to our large muscles for short bursts of maximum energy. 

However, when we remain in a continual state of stress, our body steals oxygen from all of our cells and delivers it to only a select few. Oxygen made be “robbed” from the digestive, brain, skin, and reproductive tissues. Over time, this consistent oxygen deficiency leads to unhealthy cells. Studies show that oxygen deficiency at a cellular level can be a key driver of cancer growth.

It is important to recognize and be aware of when we feel stressed so that we can take a pause and practice at least ten deep diaphragm-breathes to return to a normal state. 

Eat oxygen-rich food 

Some foods we eat actually contain oxygen, while others tax our systems for oxygen. Food like vegetables, fruits, and nuts provide our body with life-giving oxygen, whereas foods containing processed sugar actually tax our system for oxygen. 

Drink plenty of water 

Water, like many of the foods we eat also contain oxygen. Drinking adequate water per day is also a good practice to aid in oxygen uptake by your cells. Water is also used in the chemical processes within your cells that use the food you eat and oxygen to produce energy. This makes drinking plenty of water is doubly important. 

Get adequate rest 

When you are asleep, your body repairs tissues and cells by providing it with restorative oxygen. While sleeping, your brain activity is reduced, your motor needs are minimal, and digestion is minimal. Since many of your body systems are in a restful state and do not require increased oxygen uptake, your body can deliver oxygen to the tissues that are most in need of repair and rebuilding. 

So, be sure to thank your body and lungs for providing life-giving oxygen. And when you need a boost, don’t forget to… just breathe! 

References 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3011955/

Superlife The 5 Forces That Will Mae You Health Fit and Eternally Awesome, Olien

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