Breathing Dynamics For Optimal Health and Performance

BREATHING DYNAMICS FOR OPTIMAL HEALTH AND PERFORMANCE

 Do you want to know how you can influence your quality of life by understanding the role of breathing in rest, activity, attention and composure?

Breathing is central to all life.

It is the one thing that we have conscious control of that we do more than anything else – up to 30,000 times per day on average.

BUT, did you know that:

The quality of your breathing affects the quality of your life?

And that most of us OVER BREATHE – both in rate and depth.

Normal breathing is 4-5 litres of air per minute at 8-10 breaths per minute (as opposed to 14-20 breaths that most of us take!!).

And breathing should always happen through the nose driven by the diaphragm. Most of us alternate between mouth and nose breathing using predominantly the chest and shoulders, causing us to breathe too much volume of air, with poor postural strategy using far too much effort in breathing.

This over breathing, or dysfunctional breathing, when repeated up to 30,000 times per day can result in significant compromises in optimal functioning.

Do you know what it means to breathe optimally?

The limiting factor in OPTIMAL RESPIRATION, and therefore OPTIMAL ENERGY FOR OUR CELLS, is not a lack of oxygen that we inhale? We breathe in 21% oxygen and exhale 16%, so we only use less than one quarter of the oxygen that we breathe.

It is a lack of oxygen released into cells due to low levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) caused by OVER BREATHING OR DYSFUNCTIONAL BREATHING!!!!

Yet most of us OVER BREATHE or MOUTH BREATHE.

In 1903 Danish physiologist Christian Bohr won a Nobel Prize for his discovery that the lower the partial pressure (and therefore concentration) of CO2 in the arterial blood, the tighter the bond between circulating haemoglobin (Hb) and it’s bound oxygen (O2). The tighter the bond between Hb and O2, the less the amounts of oxygen released into tissues for energy production.

What causes low arterial concentration of CO2? 

OVER BREATHING!!!!

OVERBREATHING/DYSFUNCTIONAL BREATHING CAN RESULT IN:                                      

  1. Snoring, sleep apnoea, waking un-refreshed         

  2. Asthma, breathing difficulties  

  3. Anxiety, panic attacks

  4. Hypertension, high blood pressure

  5. Eczema, dry skin, skin irritations

  6. Fatigue/lack of endurance or stamina

  7. Allergies, sinusitis, excessive mucous production

  8. Teeth deformities

When you reduce oxygen release to cells, those cells lose functionality or under perform.

 

OPTIMAL BREATHING CAN RESULT IN:

  1. A full night of quiet sleep. Waking refreshed. 
  1. Controlled, easy breathing (even when exercising). 
  1. Greater energy levels and vitality. 
  1. Greater mental concentration and clarity. 
  1. Significantly improved work, sporting and/or artistic performance. 
  1. Clear skin. 
  1. A well formed set of teeth.                                                                               

 

When you optimize oxygen release, you optimize cellular performance. Cells flourish!!

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF MEASURING AND MAINTAINING OPTIMAL CO2 LEVELS.

Over breathing causes hypocapnia (low partial pressure of CO2 in arterial blood) which results in both vaso- and broncho- constriction. And if the required ‘reservoir level’ of CO2in the lungs after expiration (namely ETCO2) is too low there will be constant interference in smooth muscle tube function and fluctuations in oxygen concentration at cellular level – causing sub-optimal cell regeneration with the accompanying chronic tiredness, sleep disordered breathing, poor concentration and lack of energy and stamina.

THE CapnoTrainer™

This is a sophisticated bio-feedback monitoring instrument that optically analyses the exhaled breath, establishes the ETCO2 and displays it in various graphic formats along with measurements of breathing rate and heart rate variability. It connects via USB and works on most PCs and laptops.

 

 

 

ETCO2 consistently below the horizontal line which represents 35mm Hg pressure – minimum level for functional breathing.

 

 

 

 ETCO2 above the horizontal line showing 40 – 45mm Hg pressure which is the correct level for optimal functioning.

 We are the only clinic in Victoria to use this new CapnoTrainerTMbioefeedbacktechnology to assess your breathing levels and retrain you to breathe optimally.

For athletes and business people, the benefits of breathing retraining can be both surprising and life changing. Both performance and efficiency of movement will improve dramatically.

We focus on training you to:

  • Nose breathe at all levels of exertion.
  • Use your diaphragm (rather than the chest and clavicles) as the main driver of breathing.
  • Reduce the rate and volume of your breath at all levels of exertion.
  • Manage stress levels by regulating your autonomic nervous system – specifically by reducing sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) dominance and increasing parasympathetic (relaxation) function.

 

This will result in the following benefits:

  1. Use of a greater surface area of your lungs for gas exchange.
  2. Increase oxygen release to tissue and cells of your body.
  3. For athletes – delay onset of lactic acid.
  4. Reduced heart rates even under pressure or at higher levels of exertion.
  5. Greater relaxation at all levels of stress or exertion via increased parasympathetic nervous system activation.
  6. Greater access to ‘Zone’ or ‘alpha’ states during performance, exercise or racing.
  7. Increased deep system stabilization (postural) via diaphragmatic control.
  8. Relaxation of nerves prior to stressful events or races.

We teach Breathing Dynamics to the public both one on one in clinic or in courses for groups.

 

Tim Altman B.Sc.; B.H.Sc (Naturopathy) www.timaltman.com.au

Ph: 0425 739 918

 

 

Breathing For an ‘Everesting’ Cycle Mission

Article: Roadtripping Everest – www.cyclingtips.com

Linked below is a fantastic article and video by Andy Van-Bergen from www.cyclingtips.com on a road trip he took to base camp at Mt Everest at an altitude of 5,000m to attempt what has now become known in the cycling world as ‘Everesting’ – to climb the equivalent of 8,848m — the height of sea level to the summit of Everest — in one ride.

Andy’s desciption of this task sums it up:

“Doing a regular Everesting is hard enough — 24 hours spent riding up and down the same road is beyond taxing, both physically and mentally — but doing it on the approach to Everest itself would take things to the next level.

The temperature would range between 8 degrees and minus 5, the cold air rolling down the North Face would all but ensure we faced a block headwind as we climbed, and the effect of high altitude would be an unknown factor we would struggle to simulate and prepare for. After all, there was no precedent for endurance cycling at high altitude that we could find.

In short, it was clear that we had found ourselves an adventure.”

As a part of their preparation they trained regularly at Melbourne Altitude Training using the Wattbike-equipped altitude chamber which replaced oxygen with nitrogen, as well as adjusting humidity to simulate a height of 5,000m (at 11.5% O2).

It was via Oz Begen of the Melbourne Altitude Training that I met Andy and Matilda (two of the three cyclists attempting this gruelling and pioneering task).

Training at altitude has benefits of helping the body acclimatise to low oxygen environments, making it more efficient at taking up oxygen into the bloodstream. At lower altitude the body then maintains this increase efficiency at up-taking oxygen into the bloodstream for a period of time. Athletes from many sports have found benefits using altitude training over the years, and many research studies have validated these benefits. In fact, many professional athletes and clubs have invested in altitude training facilities at their training venues.

However, whilst increasing blood saturation of oxygen certainly has benefits, being able to deliver the oxygen into the blood stream more efficiently will further increase these benefits – and this is where breathing retraining comes in.

I had only 2 weeks to train with Andy and Matilda, so I couldn’t teach them to effectively nose and diaphragm breathe whilst riding at higher levels of intensity, however I could teach them techniques that would facilitate their recovery and help them relax.

The diaphragmatic breathing rhythms using the nose help athletes to return to resting heart rate more quickly after exertion (so they can exert again sooner, and/or more efficiently when they do exert again). In addition they help to use more of the lung volume for gas exchange, deliver oxygen to the cells for energy production more efficiently (which also means they delay lactic acid production), and relax the nervous system, increasing parasympathetic nervous system enervation.

Whilst the mission they undertook proved too difficult, the techniques learned did help them out along the way. Here are a few excerpts from the article illustrating the training and benefits:

“We also used the sessions to work on our strength and recovery breathing techniques with our respiration coach Tim Altman. The recovery breathing felt like a structured version of meditation, with a simple 5 second inhale, 2 second hold, 10 second exhale. It took a few minutes to get on top of following an effort, but was calming and relaxing.

The strength training to build lung capacity was genuinely terrifying in whatever form it took, and there were many forms. While riding at altitude in the chamber we would perform 10 second maximum effort sprints while clamping our nose and mouth shut. We were given ten seconds recovery, followed by another 10 second sprint and so on for blocks of two minutes. Usually by the third or fourth rep things were far beyond uncomfortable. These blocks were then finished with a coached breath hold. At around the one-minute mark convulsions would start to set in, and all the while Tim was gently telling us to fight through it.”

“The training certainly seemed to help. A few weeks in and I was feeling stronger than I had in years. I was on every supplement known to man (well, the legal ones anyway), the respiration coaching we’d been doing with Tim Altman was finally starting to kick in, and I even scheduled in a Zwift ‘virtual Everesting’ before we were due to leave. I felt as prepared as I could, considering I had no idea what to expect.”

“Walking up the gangway while lugging 20kg of ‘carry on’ a strange sensation of dizziness and the sound of rushing blood in my ears combined with a noticeable breathlessness. We shot each other panicked looks. Gone was the banter, replaced by fear. As we stood waiting for our bags we reminded each other that a big part of this initial feeling could be attributed to anxiety, and we knew from our training that this could be controlled with our breathing. Sure enough, in the time it took to arrive at the hotel we were on top of things again, and had almost forgotten about the altitude. This was to be the pattern we’d follow for the next two weeks. A seed of a thought could easily grow into breathless anxiety, only to be controlled with breathing.”

“Tim Altman’s respiratory recovery came to mind. I flipped on some jazz, closed my eyes, and spent the next ten minutes performing breathing exercises. I wasn’t back above 80%, but I felt like a different person, and it only took one mention of the switchbacked descent to come to have me out on the bike again.”

It’s a enthralling read and a fantastic video, scenery is simply breathtaking. I highly recommend you both read and watch. And huge thumbs up to Andy, Matilda, Shannon and the team for attempting such a monumental, unchartered challenge. Super impressive. What an adventure.

If you would like to learn more about breathing for sporting performance, relaxation, health and well-being, or assisting in acclimatisation to altitude, then feel free to email me at tim@timaltman.com.au or call +61 425 739 918.

https://cyclingtips.com/2017/12/roadtripping-everest/