Right now, stop everything and focus on your breathing. Look down. See anything moving? Probably not. That's because most people typically take very short, shallow breaths-the kind that simply comes from your chest. For you to really improve your lung function, you need to practice taking deep, whole breaths.
What will deep breathing get you, besides stares on the subway? A lot, actually:
For one, it helps transport nitric oxide-a very potent lung and blood vessel dilator that resides in your nasal passages-to your lungs. So it makes your lungs and blood vessels function better.
Taking deep breaths helps your lungs go from 98-percent saturation of oxygen to 100-percent saturation of oxygen, and that little 2 percent can sometimes make a big difference in how you feel.
Another benefit is that it helps improve the drainage of your lymphatic system, which removes toxins from your body.
Of course, deep breathing also helps with stress relief. The deep breaths act as a mini-meditation--and from a longevity standpoint, it's an important stress-reliever.
Shifting to slower breathing in times of tension can help calm you and allow you to perform at higher levels, both mentally or physically.
My recommendation? Take 10 deep breaths in the morning, 10 at night, and as many as you need when shooting free throws or after chasing your toddler down the cereal aisle.
Find out more about this book:YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger