How To Breathe Better During Exercise

 

Muscles need oxygen to work and the most important way your body gets oxygen is through the air you breathe. Exercise increases the amount of oxygen in your blood, but if you’re not breathing right, you may be getting short-changed. How you breathe can affect the quality of your workout, your energy level during and after exercise, and your ability to burn fat.

Here we examine how breathing right can help you when you exercise and steps to take to improve your breathing.

Posture and Breathing

The muscles used for good posture are the same muscles used for proper respiration. Between the abdominal muscles, spine, and back muscles are the lungs, diaphragm and pelvic floor that support good breathing patterns. This is why posture is so important to proper breathing technique. You may have heard of chest breathing vs. belly breathing or diaphragmatic breathing. Your ability to breathe at an optimal level has a lot to do with lung capacity which is affected by the position of your diaphragm in relation to your rib cage and abdominal muscles. If you breathe from your chest, your breaths are shorter and more shallow which doesn’t use your entire lung capacity and could leave you feeling tired quicker than if you practiced belly breathing. Proper posture sets you up for breathing at an optimal level i.e. diaphragmatic breathing. Without good posture, you can’t maintain proper breathing patterns.

Cardio Machines and Posture

Even if you have good posture, it may be hard to maintain during certain exercises. Strangely enough, cardio machines like the elliptical, treadmill, bicycle, and stair climber are the hardest to maintain proper posture if you’re not consciously focusing on it. From speed, to incline, to seat height (when cycling), to changes in resistance, many people use poor posture such as hunching over, overstriding, looking down, or otherwise not staying upright on these machines. To be sure you’re getting the most out of your cardio workout, be sure not to sacrifice posture for anything else. A great exercise to practice good posture and alignment with proper breathing patterns is the 90/90 bridgewith Ball and Balloon.

Mouth vs. Nasal Breathing

Many people breathe much faster than they should during exercise, or worse, they hold their breath frequently. It makes sense that less air enters your lungs with faster, more shallow breathing. Generally, people who breathe through their mouth have a harder time breathing deeply. Breathing through your nose however will allow you to breathe in more air, using more of your lung capacity, and thus take in more energy. Because it is a deeper breath, nasal breathing promotes belly breathing as opposed to chest breathing. As you master inhaling through your nose, incorporate slower deeper breaths. Studies show nasal breathers have better posture, too. To get the most energizing breaths into your body, breathe in and out through your nose. When you are cooling down or trying to slow your breath after a workout during stretching for example, breathing through your nose and out through your mouth is helpful.

The 3:2 Ratio

The last step to improving your breathing is balancing your inhale and exhale. Many experts employ a ratio to help you consciously control your breath. The 3:2 inhale-to-exhale ratio calls for inhaling for three steps and exhaling for two. So when you’re walking, cycling, or climbing stairs, try this technique to keep your breaths slow and under control. You may find it hard to do at first, as the slower breaths may slow your pace, but as you practice, you’ll get a rhythm and maintaining the 3:2 ratio will come as second nature.

Source: Calorie Count

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French Toast Casserole

 

Ingredients

2 teaspoons – cinnamon

2 tablespoons – butter

2 teaspoons – vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon – salt

1/2 cup – sugar, divided

3 cups – milk

10 cups – bread cubes ( approximately 1 regular sized loaf)

8 eggs

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Lightly grease a 9 X 13 inch baking dish.

3. Line the bottom of the pan with the bread cubes.

4. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, 4 tablespoons of the sugar, the salt and vanilla.

5. Pour the mixture over the bread.

6. Dot with butter.

7. Let stand for 10 minutes.

8. Combine the remaining sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle over the top.

9. Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes, until top is golden.

10. Serve with syrup & fresh fruit.

Recipe found with my android recipes app

 

Christmas Grinch Fruit Bites

Ingredients

1 whole green grape

1 banana slice

1 strawberry with the top cut off

1 mini marshmallow

1 toothpick or similar item

Directions

1.  Stack on skewer of choice in that order!

2 . NOTE: These are fast & easy to make and healthy! The kids won’t miss the chips & dip with these around! Enjoy!

Recipe found with my android recipes app

Can you Drink Alcohol and Still Lose Weight?

 

As Christmas Day quickly approaches, it is a question that is on the minds of weight loss hopefuls. The answer is much more complicated than counting calories. Unlike carbohydrates, protein, and fat, alcohol is not an essential source of calories, nor is it significant source of vitamins and minerals your body needs to function. However, many people who are in good shape swear by a drink or two every now and then. Are they the exception or the rule?

 

Calories in Alcohol

 

Pure alcohol serves up 7 calories per gram, almost twice as many calories as carbohydrates and close to the 9 calories in a gram of fat. That makes that cocktail, margarita or Mai Tai a heaping mound of calories in a small glass. Just a 1.5 oz shot of 80-proof gin, rum, or vodka can add 100 calories to any drink. When you think of the addition of fruit juice, soda, or grenadine (a liqueur), you’re looking at a calorie-infusion that could add up to meal-size calorie counts. If you want to save calories, have alcohol straight with fresh fruit, or mixed with club soda, or stick to plain old wine.

 

Lowering Your Inhibitions

 

Beyond calories, something else to consider is alcohol’s ability to lower inhibitions. To keep yourself from overindulging, eat a well balanced meal with protein and fiber before you start drinking. It will also help you steer clear of searching for a late-night meal, when your only options may not include low-calorie foods like fruits or vegetables. Research shows that drinking before a meal may increase your caloric intake by 20%.

 

Alcohol’s Impact on Metabolism

 

A ‘beer belly’ is not caused by alcohol alone, but there are some direct correlations between alcohol and fat metabolism. When you drink alcohol, your metabolism slows down its energy conversion of fat and carbohydrates to first get rid of the alcohol in your body. Manuel Villacorta, MS, RD, CSSD, a national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics shares, “Drinking alcohol stops fat metabolism in the liver causing it to build up around the waistline.” Of course this “build up” only happens in the presence of excess calories. In addition to staying under your calorie limit, rev up your metabolism by staying active and not skipping meals.

 

Alcohol’s Impact on Your Sleep

 

Even if you do control your alcohol calories, and keep your metabolism revved, consuming alcohol can have a major impact on your ability to have a good night’s sleep if you consume it right before bed. Michael Breus, PhD tells WebMD that even if alcohol helps you go to sleep, it’s detrimental to your sleep experience. “It will keep you in the lighter stage…it will also wake you up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, it will also dehydrate you which can affect your sleep.” He explains that alcohol consumption inhibits “deep sleep” stages 3 and 4, “where we see the increase in growth hormone, the cell repair, and the overall damage-from-the-day repair.” He continues that the resulting fatigued feeling can rob a person from feeling refreshed in the morning. Lack of sleep could affect not only your ability to workout effectively, but it could also hinder your well-intentioned eating habits. Just as you should aim to not eat 2 to 3 hours before bed, you should give up the glass or bottle within this time frame to enjoy a good night’s rest.

 

The Bottom Line

 

All things being equal, if you continue to burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. However, if lowering your caloric intake of food to accommodate 1 or 2 glasses of alcohol, ensure not to cut out essential calories from complex carbs, healthy fats and proteins. Also, while drinking on its own will not inhibit weight loss, depending on the frequency and level of consumption, the effects of drinking alcohol could have a negative impact on your ability to eat good food, sleep well, and lead a healthy lifestyle.

Source: Caloriecount.com; 

Edited by Rachel Berman 10/21/2013; Gabrielle Williams 28/10/13

 

 

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