Breathing — it happens naturally, we mostly don’t think about. It’s obvious how important breathing and oxygen is for our body. But what’s not so obvious is how much mental and physical potential one can unlock by breathing with the right technique.
Every single cell and muscle is fuelled through a process called anaerobic respiration — a reaction between glucose and oxygen that produces carbon dioxide and water. Glucose is the metabolised substance of carbohydrates — arguably the most important macro we get through our food. And oxygen we obviously get from the air we breathe.
To increase our mental and physical performance we can therefore optimise the food we eat to contain better, less processed and cleaner carbohydrates. Food that is especially high in carbohydrates are for example rice, potatoes and fruits.
But equally important for mental and physical performance is our breathing. For example, meditation largely focuses on breathing as the means to increased mental awareness.
There’s a lot of technique involved in breathing. When exercising it’s easy to get stuck with short and shallow breaths, so if you can train yourself to use deep and long breathing you will most definitely improve your performance. I’ve been working on my breathing technique for a while, and I’d like to think this was an important part of my 10 km personal record that I achieved today while running.
The below podcast, where Rich Roll interviews Wim “The Iceman” Hof, is very fascinating. Wim is using advanced breathing techniques to break all sorts of human barriers. I can thoroughly recommend that you listen to it if you’re interested in these kinds of things.