Editor’s note: Jill Miller, celebrity fitness and self-care expert and author of the best-selling book “The Roll Model” (Victory Belt Publishing, 2014), explains why it’s crucial to train the breath. It’s one aspect of our workout that we “set and forget” with one learned pattern, such as exhaling with the effort and inhaling with the return or recovery portion of an exercise. Match her breath challenges below to the appropriate part of your workout to gauge and even improve your performance.
Your breath gives you a view into your biological operating system. It’s the moment-by-moment snapshot of how your body is responding to your metabolic needs. It is a reflection pool that shows you the transient faces of stress, calm and all the emotional stages in between.
Your breath is also a tool that you can update—change—to consciously alter your way of being. Different methods of breathing can concretely influence your immediate present and future. By improving your body’s capacity to take in oxygen and tolerate the waste product of carbon dioxide in your system, you can change your mood, your concentration, your muscular force production and dozens of other factors.
The muscles of respiration suffer from overuse and underuse like any other muscle of the body. And when they are dysfunctional, other muscles are recruited into patterns that can create pain and stress that follow you from sleep into your daily habits and into the workout room.
It’s important to intervene with breath training so you can optimize both the musculoskeletal actions of the respiratory muscles and help the underlying physiology and nervous system. Nose breathing is one of the fastest ways to recognize how efficient or inefficient you are at tolerating the waste products of respiration. All the exercises below create that challenge, as they are designed to be performed while breathing through your nose.
Equipment: One Coregeous Ball