Why is Good Breathing Important?

March 22, 2022

Breath is life – that very first lungful as a baby, signals our transition from the womb to the world.

On average we take around 20,000 breaths each day. Yet how often do we really pay attention to our breathing?

At Airofit, our goal is to help promote better breathing for all. But it’s not just about breath training. We want to help create a better understanding of the art and science of breathing. And to help people realize the life-changing effects that good breathing habits can have, whether you’re an elite athlete, or just trying to make it up a few stairs without struggling for air.

We are fortunate to work alongside some great experts and coaches, including the breathwork trainer Tom Stijven. Tom is a certified Wim Hof method coach. And his own experience of recovering from chronic illness makes him an inspiring example of the potential benefits of this system.

Ice, ice baby!

Ice bath Wim Hof Method breathing

For those unfamiliar, Wim Hof – aka The Iceman – is a record-breaking extreme athlete and motivational speaker. His system of breath training and cold exposure for better health has many fans and has been widely covered by the international media.

In his video webinars and workshops with us, Tom has been sharing his insights into how our breathing patterns influence our health in so many ways, including energy levels, immune function, relaxation, and sleep.

He has also taught us how control of your breathing can make extreme cold exposure more bearable, for those brave enough to try it!

If you’ve never tried counting your breaths, you might want to try it now: just observe, without trying to change it, the natural rhythm of your breathing and count the number of breaths you take in one minute. (1 breath is an inhale and an exhale).

The typical range for adults is around 12 – 20 breaths per minute, when at rest. Yet many of us over-breathe, or shallow-breathe. And over the long-term, this can have negative consequences, from anxiety to fatigue, digestive issues, and poor sleep. Research has shown that adopting a slower breathing rate of around 6 breaths per minute can be beneficial, boosting our body’s ‘rest and digest’ function, improving pain management, and bringing other benefits for overall wellness.

Minimal training, maximal benefits

The impact of your breathing patterns on your body is wide-ranging. It affects your blood pressure, blood acidity levels and even your mental state. Rapid shallow breathing will lead to increased anxiety and feelings of panic. This is why learning to recognize your breathing habits and modify them can have such a positive impact on your physical and mental wellbeing.

Whether as part of a program of physiotherapy, or as a personal one, RMT – respiratory muscle training – has been shown to have many benefits:

• Lowers blood pressure
• Improves cardiovascular health
• Improvements with asthma symptoms
• Strengthens breathing muscles
• Improves core stability
• Improves sports performance
• Reduces anxiety & depression in COPD
• Better management of OSA (obstructive sleep apnea)
• Better overall quality of life

Breath training as a therapy

The benefits of IMT – inspiratory muscle training, have been well-documented. IMT is used in therapy with people dealing with asthma, MS, COPD and long Covid.

The strengthening effect on the breathing muscles helps with recovery from illness, as well as management of long-term symptoms.

Ancient wisdom, modern methods

Meditation breathing training

The benefits of healthy breathing patterns have been a part of eastern systems like Yoga for centuries. And with the huge popularity of Yoga in the west, good breathing habits really should be more mainstream by now.

Our unique app-based system, developed by breath training experts, is a great way to supercharge your breathing and here at Airofit HQ, we use it in combination with Yoga to boost our team’s health and vitality.

If you have a regular meditation or Yoga practice, why not see if it works for you too?

Not just for elite sports people