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Getting healthier more easily

In last week’s blog, I introduced the idea that getting healthier might not be as difficult as we have been led to believe. I mentioned the simple things that are essential to life, breathing, consuming nutrients, moving, and growing. The one thing that I did not mention that underlies all of four of these elements is balance. I will explain more how that is interwoven though the “easier” process of getting healthy as we go along. We did discuss what the effect is of not being in balance with these elements as well as how these elements all work together like a gearing system.



Today, let’s take a little deeper peek at the first of the four elements involved with

getting healthier. We all can agree that breathing is pretty essential to life. Breathing is a subconscious activity that has partial conscious control. What I mean by that is you breathe automatically without thinking. You can override that essential activity to some degree by holding your breath, but eventually the subconscious mind overrides YOU and you return to breathing or you die.





At this point, most of you are thinking, “well Kirk, I am obviously breathing so I must be doing it right”. I will agree with you that you are breathing. There is far more to breathing than just breathing. Breathing can be defined as the intake of air that has a tremendous amount of oxygen into the lungs. When that air is in the lungs fresh oxygen is exchanged for toxic carbon dioxide which is then exhaled. This process is breathing. The body uses oxygen to metabolize nutrients we have consumed for energy and raw materials necessary to maintain the body’s structure. When this pattern is not in balance the body reacts poorly for us. When there is too much oxygen, it is like super oxygenating a fire. We burn the nutrients too fast, and this causes tissue destruction. This is what you and I call hyperventilation. When there is too much carbon dioxide the metabolism and energy levels dip so low that body cells will simply stop functioning. This is what we recognize as death. We need that balance.




Our lungs, which is where the gas exchange in breathing takes place, are like two big jars. Air, rich in oxygen comes in and is exchanged for carbon dioxide which in turn is exhaled. So, how is it possible to not be breathing correctly, which by definition would make us less healthy? One way of not breathing correctly is if we don’t make full use of our lungs. This usually happens due to poor posture. When we sit or stand with poor posture we compress (usually) the lower portion of our lungs. The lower portion of the lungs are the largest part of the lung. The inability to draw air into the lower lung could decrease your ability to exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide by as much as 60% or more.


Upper chest and neck issues could cause a person to not utilize the upper portions of the lungs. This would not only decrease the ability to fully exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide, but also could lead to weakness of the muscles necessary to utilize the upper portions of the lungs.





Once again, I will bring balance back into the picture. If we are not breathing fully and properly, the muscles of the chest and the abdomen become weak. Our chest sags and our belly will grow larger. When these core muscles become weak, the two biggest joints involved with movement (the hips and the shoulders) lose their ability to move properly. This is because the muscles that bring movement to those joints need to “push” off a stable base. That stable base is our core musculature.




Finally, breathing properly has one more great benefit. We can now agree takes oxygen to make a fire burn, and more oxygen added to a fire makes it burn hotter, faster, and more completely. This means that with proper posture and proper breathing, we could lose weight and actually get healthier!




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