Cover art for podcast Better Breathing Means Better Health

Better Breathing Means Better Health

17 EpisodesProduced by Michael LingardWebsite

Most of us in the West breathe badly and this has an adverse effect on our health. Almost every disease is associated with poor breathing, and by simply improving our breathing with a little training, whatever health problem we may have will also be improved and even, in some cases, eliminated.

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Step Exercises & The Extended Pause

Episode # 8 Step Exercises & The Extended Pause

Hi, this is episode eight of Better Breathing Means Better Health, entitled “Step Exercises and The Extended Pause”.
As part of your breath retraining wouldn't it be good if you could speed up your breath training while out for a walk or while walking to work each day? Well this is exactly what the step exercise allows you to do.
Remember what we are trying to achieve is a change in your breathing through a re-setting of your carbon dioxide receptors in your body that control your rate of breathing. For everyone who is over-breathing habitually their receptors are trying to maintain a lower level of carbon dioxide than is normal and healthy. The Buteyko exercises you have been doing have been gradually accustoming these receptors to accept a higher level of carbon dioxide through relaxation and perhaps reduced breathing with the accompanying slight “air hunger”.
If we could apply more pressure on your receptors to get used to a higher level of carbon dioxide, that would speed up your recovery of normal breathing and reduce all your symptoms. Step Exercises do just that.
Very simply, next time you are out walking, firstly remember to only breathe through your nose and pace yourself so that you can, even when going uphill. When you are ready, just hold your breath on an out-breath and see how many steps you can do before you feel the need to breathe in, counting in your head, then breathe in through your nose and continue on your way until you feel your breathing is comfortable again, then you can repeat this step counting with another breath hold after exhaling. Try to steadily increase your count each time, each time returning to normal nose breathing as you walk.
This is a very powerful exercise that will speed up your progress. You may find the next time you do your Buteyko exercise after such a walk your Control Pause will have increased notably.

This, in fact, is the main exercise that children are taught when leaning the Buteyko Method, there is a rough conversion rate of steps compared with the Control Pause, divide the number of steps you can achieve with a breath hold after exhaling by two should equal your control pause, many children achieve up to 100 or more steps by the time their breathing is back to normal which would be the equivalent to a Control Pause of over 50 seconds.

The second subject in this episode is the Extended Pause. This is of particular importance for asthmatics trying to reduce the use of their reliever medication but can be used by others in certain circumstances. If you are asthmatic, the next time you feel you need to reach out for your reliever puffer, because you feel wheezy or tight chested, try to first relax, breathe in gently then out and hold your breath a little longer than you would for a control pause, until you feel the need to breathe in, quite strongly, then breathe in gently through your nose followed by a minute of relaxed breathing. Then breathe in and out gently and hold your breath again for an extended pause as before, if after another minute of relaxed breathing you still feel you need to use your inhaler, take one puff followed by two minutes of reduced breathing.
Most asthmatics find that more times than not, this simple exercise is effective and they can avoid using their reliever. This is a great achievement, to become less reliant on always having to use the puffer. Initially you may still need the reliever but with time you will find the extended pause followed by a short period of gentle reduced breathing will replace your puffer except in extreme situations. When you do use your reliever remember to follow with a few minutes of reduced breathing as the reliever medication does open up the airways but also increases your breathing rate.
The effect of the Extended Pause is to rapidly increase the carbon dioxide levels in your body. If you find this exercise in any way distressing do not use it.
Try both these new exercises out over the coming days until the next episode when I will introduce you to three exercises you may use when you feel your breathing has begun to get worse for whatever reason, these exercises are the three Anti-Hyperventilation Exercises.

Remember you can revise on most of the information taught in these episodes in the accompanying book “The Buteyko Guide to Better Breathing and Better Health” you may have already, if not click HERE to read about it or to buy it.

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