Breathing Exercises For Health & Strength!
The Importance of Breathing Exercises
The foundation of ultimate fitness is not big, hard muscles that are often admired or envied today. No, the true foundation of health and fitness are powerful lungs which breathe efficiently and bring life giving oxygen into the body.
Oxygen is primarily taken into the body via the lungs. However, most people never bother to develop LUNG POWER!
Lung power is only achieved with deep breathing exercises. Various activities and sports such as walking, running, tennis, basketball, etc. develops lung power. One must be careful, however, not to strain the heart unduly since that can do more harm than good. Brief spurts of high intensity is best such as is taught by Dr. Sears in his cutting-edge PACE Program
With high efficiency lungs, your body will always have plenty of oxygen to ward off diseases. Many illnesses are caused by shallow abdominal breathing rather than deep costal (chest) breathing. Keep in mind that pathogens are anaerobic, meaning that they thrive in a oxygen-free environment. In the presence of oxygen they are destroyed.
The following deep breathing exercises were developed by expert Physical Culturalist Edwin Checkley, who received high praise for his
Natural Method of Physical Training.
Practice these exercises in the morning and evening and if you can also at one other time during the day. These breathing exercises are not meant to take the place of habitual exercising of the body by proper breathing and body management. They are only intended to be supplementary to that constant exercise which the body undertakes as it opposes gravity!
There are certain movements which combine the respiratory with muscular exercises. Such a preliminary exercise is indicated in Fig. 6. Take the correct standing position and place the hands together (locking the thumbs), as shown in the drawing at A. Raise the hands, keeping the arms straight, and at the same time take in a long breath. When the arms are raised as high as your muscular condition will allow without bending the body in any way, slowly lower the arms again, emitting the breath as they descend. Repeat this a number of times. When the shoulder and chest muscles are in good condition, you will be able to raise the arms straight over the head without bending the body.
For another breathing exercise combining respiration and muscular action assume the same position, raise the hands slowly while taking in a breath, and when they have reached a position over the head hold the breath while they are brought slowly down to the sides.
Again, place the hands over the head as in Fig. 7, and as they are brought to the sides on a perfect line, draw in a breath corresponding in duration to the time occupied in dropping the arms slowly. Release the breath gradually.
For a final exercise in this department the preliminary position is shown in Fig. 8. Having brought the elbows on a level with the shoulders, and the hands on the same line, extend the arms, with hands together as if in the act of swimming, taking in at the same time all the air the lungs will hold. Holding the lungs full, bring the hands around on an outer circle to points on a level with the shoulders, and then slowly empty the lungs while bringing the hands to the original position.
These exercises will be found easy yet exhilarating, and will fill the double office of strengthening the lungs and developing the chest muscles. These movements should not be performed more quickly than ten times a minute.
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