I would hazard a guess that the average person is unable to hold their breath for any length of time, and the average person might think “why the hell do I want to hold my breath”. Well, the time you can hold your breath can determine your efficiency when exercising. If you can regulate your breath and do this comfortably when performing any sort of physical activity then this will have a calming effect on the body.
The Body Oxygen Level Test (BOLT) is a good way to see where you are at with this, to do the test is simple, see below taken from Patrick Mckeown (featured yesterday) and his Oxygen Advantage website:
To obtain an accurate measurement, it’s best to rest for ten minutes before measuring your BOLT score. Read the instructions carefully first and have a timer on hand. You can measure your BOLT now:
- Take a normal breath in through your nose and allow a normal breath out through your nose.
- Hold your nose with your fingers to prevent air from entering your lungs.
- Time the number of seconds until you feel the first definite desire to breathe, or the first stresses of your body urging you to breathe. These sensations may include the need to swallow or a constriction of the airways. You may also feel the first involuntary contractions of your breathing muscles in your abdomen or throat as the body gives the message to resume breathing. (Note that BOLT is not a measurement of how long you can hold your breath but simply the time it takes for your body to react to a lack of air.)
- Release your nose, stop the timer, and breathe in through your nose. Your inhalation at the end of the breath hold should be calm.
- Resume normal breathing.
If your BOLT score is below 20 seconds then this can result in blocked noses, coughs, wheezing, disrupted sleep, snoring and fatigue. The aim is to attempt to get your BOLT score above 40 seconds.
We have already featured many breathing exercises throughout the year, go back and try any of these, or stay tuned for another tomorrow, practise them for two weeks then come back to your BOLT test to see if there is any improvement.