Fri, January 14, 2022 | Nutrition
Whether you have been short on sleep, under fuelled or maybe even just deep into a long day… your body can utilise energy to provide you with the power and motivation to keep going.
As human beings, we often opt for the lowest hanging fruit when we need an energy kick, but these aren’t always the greatest option for sustained energy or overall health.
Options like caffeine (from energy drinks or coffee) or sugary foods (think sweets, chocolate and baked goods) are all ‘quick wins’ for a short term burst of energy. Unfortunately, these can often lead to an energy crash, or even continued overconsumption of these options.
When you’re tired it’s easier to opt for these faster fixes… this is where we want to arm you with some tactics for healthier habits.
Breathwork is an incredibly powerful tool for many reasons, one of which being to boost your energy levels naturally. Your breath is an incredibly effective tool when it comes to controlling your emotions; breathing practices can help calm you down, balance your mind, increase focus, or affect your heart rate and blood pressure.
How does it work?
Breathwork techniques take advantage of the link between your breath and your autonomic nervous system. This bodily system is split into the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems, which work primarily in opposition to each other. While the sympathetic system can be linked to our fight or flight reaction, kicking in when the mind senses a threat, the parasympathetic system is our ‘rest and digest’ state, responsible for controlling involuntary actions in our body, like digestion and healing.
As we’ve mentioned, breathwork practise takes advantage of the sympathetic nervous system’s fight or flight reactions. By deliberately practising specific styles like deep breathing or alternate nostril breathing, we can influence the ways in which our body functions. Essentially, what you will be doing is tricking your mind into feeling a controlled level of stress that will allow it to focus and get prepared for a quick reaction.
The 5-3-3 Breathing Technique
This technique utilises short inhales and long, deep exhales, and it’s ideally practised first thing in the morning to get you energised and focused for the day ahead. Here’s what the technique involves:
• Start by taking five DEEP breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth. These should be breaths that fill up your entire lung capacity. Exhale entirely.
• Next, take three very QUICK breaths, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth.
• Finally, take a further three LOUD breaths.
This type of breathwork technique can be practised sitting or standing, as long as the feet are firmly planted on the ground and your spine is straight. The mental and physical benefits of this practice include increased energy and focus and reduced feelings of anxiety and discomfort.
As we’ve explored, the best way to increase your energy levels is actually the option that requires very little effort. By practising rhythmic breathing techniques and controlled breathwork methods, we can increase our oxygen levels and lower our CO2 levels for a short time, thus enhancing our focus and giving ourselves a jolt of energy that even a cup of coffee couldn’t match.
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