Creating Peace Through Balance

Dramatically Increase the Effects of Exercise on Your Body

Originally posted on February 24, 2015

A simple shift can have you spending a lot less time exercising with far greater results!

When it comes to excuses about why someone is not able to fit exercise into her life, believe me, I've heard everything. The very idea of exercise has become overwhelming because there is so much else to do and it doesn't seem as nearly productive as those other things we "should" be doing. Just the mere mention of the word "exercise" sometimes sends my clients into a guilt-stricken panic! 

We all know that we need exercise—wait, let's re-frame that. We all know that we need to move our bodies, (Aaaaah, I feel some of the pressure falling away already….) but we don't often feel that have the extra time or energy to get it done. 

When we view exercise as a chore, it is easy to see how it can be overwhelming with our schedules already being what they are. The good news is that it doesn't have to be that way.

Take back your time and energy
There is a misconception that in order to get the benefits of exercise, you have to work out long and hard. This is simply not true. In fact, overexerting yourself has the exact opposite effect on the body that you desire! Short workouts that alternate sprint and recovery periods give your body the best results. 

If I told you that simply breathing through your nose would drastically increasing the effectiveness of your workout, could you? 

Probably not. Here's why:

Deep Nose Breathing Burns Fat
Truth. And I'm not going to lie—it takes some getting used to. I can tell you from experience that the first time I tried it, I thought I was going to die. What I didn't realize is that I needed to slow my pace to bring my breathing back to a steady rhythm. 

Here's how it works:
Breathing DEEPLY in and out through your nose brings oxygen deep into the lungs, which in turn stimulates calming nerve receptors there. These parasympathetic nerve receptors causes calm within the body and mind, which allows the body to relax and repair. When the body is calm, it is able to burn fat. 

The upper lobes of the lungs have more sympathetic (fight or flight) nerve receptors which are activated during mouth breathing—especially during exercise. This triggers a stress response and the production of hormones like cortisol (which creates belly fat), and other hormones that trigger our need to consume comfort (junk) food after a workout. (NOW I understand why every gym has a junk food machine!) 

Counterintuitive? You bet!

When nose breathing, we are using all of the lungs' lobes, rather than just the upper two, which makes breathing a wonderful practice to kick off any workout. Exercise the lungs first by taking several deep breaths through the nose and expanding the entire lung! 

The Emotional Component
Over the years, so many of us have grown not to like the concept of or enjoy exercise. 

This is actually the larger reason why so many of us just don't do it! Scheduling just becomes the excuse because it is more socially acceptable. Little did we know that these negative feelings toward exercise were created by throwing our bodies into a repeated stress response by breathing incorrectly, and never really recovering. Deep nose breathing creates calm system and makes the whole process of moving the body much more enjoyable.

A side benefit of all of this is that breathing through the nose allows the mucous and the nose hairs to do their work catching germs. This causes us stay healthier than we would be just breathing out of our mouths.

I can tell you from personal experience that with practice, this becomes attainable and then second-nature. I even nose-breathe through spin classes now. I am seeing a far greater return from far shorter and less strenuous workouts. Isn't that the ideal?

Breathing deeply through the nose creates neurological calm that allows the body to handle higher levels of exercise from a calm place, therefore burning fat and detoxifying more efficiently and giving you the benefits of enjoying exercise, maybe for the first time ever. 

Just remember to be gentle with yourself and slow your pace until your breathing catches up to your movement. 

Stick with it, and within a couple of weeks, you will see and feel the results! You will see the fat start to burn off of your body just through exercising minutes per day!