Stress — Breath Work

Breathing: (“The Oxygen Advantage“)

  • Exercise lowers oxygen (hypoxia) and increases CO2 (hypercapnia).
    • Oxygen needs to supplied (by breathing in).
    • CO2 needs to be removed (by breathing out).
  • The level of CO2 in your body drives both the intake and uptake of oxygen.
    • You are triggered to breathe when the brain senses there is too much CO2 (oxygen intake) .
    • Oxygen is released (from the bloodstream) to be used (by muscles) when there is sufficient CO2 (oxygen uptake).
  • To maintain performance, train your ability to handle low oxygen and high CO2.
    • Don’t get comfortable with low levels of CO2.
      • Some types of breathing cause release of too much CO2.
      • Examples: heavy breathing, mouth breathing, upper-chest breathing.
      • You’re less likely to be able to handle slight increases in CO2.
      • Slightest increase causes more heavy breathing, more loss of CO2, etc.
      • Try instead: regular, nose abdominal breathing.
      • No: heavy, mouth upper-chest breathing.
    • Train yourself to get used to higher levels of CO2.
      • Breath-hold exercises help you to get used a build-up of CO2 in your body.
    • Train yourself to get used to lower levels of oxygen.
      • Breath-hold exercises and simulated altitude training help you to get used to lower oxygen levels.
      • Both help increases EPO (red blood cells in bone marrow).
      • Also helps to increase release of red blood cells from spleen.
  • Additional benefits nose breathing: nitric oxide.
    • Nose breathing moves nitric oxide nose to lungs.
      • Does not happen with mouth breathing.
    • Nitric oxide helps to relax blood vessels, improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure.

Breath-hold exercises:

Nose unblocking exercise:

  • Small nose breath, in and out.
  • Pinch nose.
  • Hold breath and walk as long as possible.
  • Resume breathing through nose.
  • Repeat after two minutes.
  • Repeat six times.

Improving your BOLT score:

  • The body oxygen level test (BOLT), the length of time you can comfortably hold your breath (without “pushing it”), measures the match between your body’s breathing volume and metabolic activity.
  • When your breathing volume matches the amount of CO2 produced, it is easier to exercise at a higher intensity level. A score of 30 seconds or higher indicates a reasonable match.

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