Learn How to Breathe – Yes, There Is A Right Way!

One of the functions of our body which we rarely, or probably never, pay attention to is breathing. Breathing is a sub-conscious activity which our body carries out for 24 hours every day. But did you know that there is a particular type of breathing pattern which is right? Yes, breathing wrongly can cause side effects to your body and has the capability to cause a lot of disadvantage to it in the long run. Without being aware of it, you may be harming your sleep, mood, digestion, brain, muscles, nervous system, heart and even your teeth and face structure!

In order to avoid these problems and keep your body feeling healthy and fit, you need to learn the right way of breathing. Once you learn the right technique, you will inevitably feel less anxious, stress-free, relaxed, in harmony with yourself and lead an overall happier life. Firstly, you need to breathe in a manner that is physiologically optimal for your body. The problem is that no one ever teaches us how to. Most of us end up over-breathing, holding our breath or engaging in shallow breathing. This leads to a shortage of oxygen and energy in the body.

The human body takes approximately 25,000 breaths per day. The better you take each of these breaths, the more positive will be the effect on your body. Here are some steps you can follow to ensure that you are doing it right:

Rhythmic Breathing

Just like the ocean, breathing also has a particular rhythm which your body follows. The rhythm is measured by getting an EEG (Electroencephalogram) of the body and is similar to the rhythm of your heartbeats or hormones in the human body. When this rhythm gets affected or disrupted, it causes some strain on the body. Activities like coughing, snoring, sniffling can tend to do that. When these occur for long periods, the natural breath falls out of pattern and becomes irregular. The right way to deal with this would be to breathe consciously as much as possible and be aware of how you breathe during different parts of the day. If you want to keep a proper check, set an alarm for every hour on your phone and check your breathing every time it rings. This will help you breathe in a relaxed and silent manner throughout the day.

Breathe using the diaphragm

It is important that the air you breathe through your nose should go all the way down to your stomach. It is only then that your body will feel at sync and you will feel an overall cleanse in your system. Your breathing pattern consists of not only the nose but even your neck, chest, abdomen and shoulders. Almost 70-80% of your breathing should be done through your diaphragm so that it is deep. This will positively affect your lungs, liver, stomach, and intestines and give them a rhythmical balance.

Extended Exhale

When you exhale, try to extend it as much as possible as this helps make your breathing deeper and more rhythmical. The right kind of breathing will involve an inhale that is 2-3 seconds long and an exhale that is 3-4 seconds long, followed by a pause for 2-3 seconds. Extending the exhale also helps make the inhale deeper, further making your breathing more efficient and relaxed.

Body Consciousness

Be aware of your body and keep a check on how tensed or relaxed it is an any given point of the day. The more you are aware, the more you will be able to feel the breathing and regulate it on your own. Always try to maintain a straight posture. Upright posture provides a body with healthier breathing since the diaphragm gets more space to function. It makes it easier for the body to breathe through the nose and also affects your thoughts and feelings in a positive manner.

Deep Breathing

Doctors recommend 10-20 minutes of deep breathing on a regular basis. But even if you manage to practice it for a minute every hour, it can show a considerable change in your body and provide you with a feel-good factor. If you manage to do it right, you will see great changes in your mental and emotional state. Deep breathing also provides a lot of physical benefits to the body, it reduces acidity and makes the body more alkaline. Chronic acidity in the body tissue can be avoided by regulating your breathing and maintaining its level.

While knowing how to breathe properly is the first step, implementing it in your life on a daily basis is what is important. The right amount of practice and determination can help you achieve it and provide all the health benefits your body can acquire.

 

Health Track – Six Health Parameters Should You Care About Everyday

How do you manage your health? Ask anyone this question and they will rattle off a list of health and fitness apps they use. From tracking the number of steps you take each day, to monitoring your heart rate every hour…there is an app for almost everything related to your health. While most of us cram our smartphone with the latest ‘fad’ app, few of us know what really we should be monitoring every day when it comes to managing our health better. So, in the spirit of making the smartphone a useful health accessory, here’s a look at some of the key health parameters you should care about every day.

Step Tracking

Yes, step tracking has assumed a sort of cult status at the moment. Since we have suddenly woken up to the fact that ‘sitting is now the new smoking’, everyone is jumping on the 10,000 steps bandwagon for its obvious health benefits. Whether it is 10,000 steps, or more, or less, getting a means (app or wearable) to track your basic activity level helps in managing your sedentary life better. Exercise tracking apps make sure you stay put on the health track by helping you set and achieve your goals, give you work out ideas, quantify the calories burnt v/s calories ingested and track your progress. Time to roll off the couch and be active!

Diet Tracking

We are what we eat…but do we watch what we eat? A cookie here, a sip of soda there, a so-called light workday lunch at your favourite salad bar could be potentially derailing your weight loss initiatives and keeping you from being your fittest best. Health apps can help you scan, save, track and calculate the calories that you consume and also provide information on the nutritional content of the food that you have eaten. You can also use these apps to track your daily calories, fat, carbohydrate and protein intake to make sure that you have the scales tipping in your favour.

Caffeine Tab

Can’t sleep too well? What’s your caffeine intake on a daily basis? Most people think that caffeine in their system comes only from the cup of coffee that they drink. However, apart from the cups of coffee that you drink regularly, caffeine is a very common ingredient found in soft drinks, energy drinks, and other beverages. Coffee tracking apps make it easier to see how much caffeine you already have in your system and will intimate you when you need to take that ‘coffee –break’…literally.

Sleep Tracking

Want great health? Sleep well. Sleep tracking applications come in handy when you want to monitor and analyze your sleep cycles and review your sleep and wake patterns. Analysing these patterns help you figure out what’s tampering with your sleep and make the necessary adjustments to help you sleep easy.

Heart Rate Monitoring

Are you sure you are working out at the right intensity? Heart rate monitoring apps check your real-time heart rate and help your heart rate become your personal coach. These apps give a clear evaluation of the condition of your cardiovascular system during physical activity and can keep you informed is you need to increase or pull back your workout intensity or if you have found your perfect workout groove.

Water Tracker

Most of us don’t drink enough water and can benefit from a time to time aqua alert to make sure we stay healthy. Using a water drink tracker application not only gives you timely reminders on when you should drink water but also tracks how much water you should actually drink keeping your height, weight and activity levels in mind.

To manage your health better you need to monitor it well. So go ahead, take control of your health in your own hands (literally!) and enjoy a fit and healthy mind and body.

Beat the Monday blues. Here’s how you could do it

image courtesy: thedoctorscloset.com
image courtesy: thedoctorscloset.com

Let’s face it: Monday hits all of us sometimes. While there are many gurus, motivators and thinkers who say that if we really love our work there should be no such thing as Monday blues, for regular walking-talking folks out there work is not always the biggest draw, day in and day out. After the weekend, especially if you have a life outside of the office (which is a great thing by the way), getting back to your desk on Mondays can be bit of a drag. Mondays come with its own pitfalls: demanding bosses, deadlines, goals (some of it too abstract to make sense), swipe-ins and swipe-outs, lunch hours etc…. basically a set of rules we program ourselves to follow, but are not really keen on. With a salary staring at us from the end of the tunnel, the whole problem is harder to deal with for some of us. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if we didn’t have to fight Mondays as much as we generally have to? Here’s a quick guide to easing out the Mondays blues and welcoming the week with some semblance of joie de vivre:

If it is too bad, review what you are doing

First things first. If getting back to work on Monday pulls you down so badly that you cannot function without feeling depressed consistently, week after week, the problem is more serious than just Monday blues. It needs fixing. It is a sign that you are unhappy at work. Make a list of things that are not letting you function like yourself, and address them. If you are not yourself, you can’t function normally. This could, in really serious cases, could be a sign of depression. You need to find out what is bothering you and take proactive action to beat your blues. The usual Monday blues don’t hit you consistently. The sign of regular Monday blues is that you are aware of it. It should not cripple you. If it does, see a therapist. Continue reading Beat the Monday blues. Here’s how you could do it

Yes, you can snack before bedtime! You just gotta know what to eat and how much…

The ‘rule’ seems to be this: eat dinner early (ideally by 7 pm) and hit the sack five hours later. While this is not a bad idea, snacking before bed should not be seen as something that’s just plain bad because there are ways to go about it. If it has been a few hours after dinner, you could consider a snack. A light snack makes sense because if you sleep hungry, your sleep may not be perfect.

Oatmeal works for breakfast and even works before bed.
Oatmeal works for breakfast and even works before bed.

Anything that is high on fat or grease is bad for you anyway, and pretty bad before bed. You need to eat a snack that will boost your metabolism. Likewise, salty stuff, spicy and acidic snacks  (like pickles, tomato sauce, oranges, etc.) may cause heartburn. And lay off that ice-cream tub because it will up your sugar levels and you may end up feeling a little too alert.

The traditional food before bedtime, like a glass of warm milk, actually work. Most warm liquids will make you sleepy as it will increase your body temperature. Add to that the fact that milk contains tryptophan and calcium, makes it one of the best ‘snack’ before bed. Continue reading Yes, you can snack before bedtime! You just gotta know what to eat and how much…