The Importance of Breathing Exercises

Through the lungs, the body receives life-giving air. One may live for many days without solid food and for several days without liquid, but death comes in a few moments without air. The capacity for using air can be greatly increased by properly exercising the lungs, as has often been demonstrated in the treatment of those with tuberculosis(consumption). Air is a simple mixture of numerous gases, but it is composed chiefly of oxygen and nitrogen. Life is more dependent upon the regular and adequate supply of oxygen than upon any other element. Fortunately for us, the nitrogen in the air dilutes the oxygen for in an atmosphere of pure oxygen we would be so overactive as to be very short-lived. Experiments have shown that prolonged inhalation of air in which the proportion of oxygen is much greater than that in which it naturally occurs in the atmosphere causes such great disturbance in the body metabolism that death finally results. Therefore we know that the mixture called air did not happen accidentally, but has been perfectly and admirable formed for the needs of human beings as well as for those of animals and plants.

The water vapor present in the air is necessary to enable the lungs to use the oxygen readily, as is shown by the fact that dry oxygen is not as readily absorbed as that which contains the proper amount of moisture.

A very important change takes place in the blood as it passes through the lungs. The blood is returned in the veins from all part of the body to the right side of the heart. At this point the blood has a dark purplish color because it is low in oxygen and contains a large amount of carbon dioxide and other impurities. Next it is pumped through the pulmonary arteries to the lungs. In the lungs, the pulmonary arteries carrying the impure blood keep branching and getting smaller and smaller until they are not about the width of one red blood cell. When they reach this size, these very tiny blood vessels are surrounded by the air sacs in the lungs so that the red blood cells are able to give off their carbon dioxide and take on a fresh supply of oxygen. There are about 300 million of these tiny air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs, and if we could lay them out a=on a flat surface they would cover an area roughly 700 square feet in size. When the blood leaves the lungs with a fresh supply of oxygen it flows back to the left side of the heart and is pumped all through the body. It is then a bright red color, due to the increased oxygen. The oxygen is taken up by the hemoglobin in the red blood cells, and is supplied to every part of the body.

There are about 25 to 30 trillion red blood cells in our bodies, but each one lives only about 120 days. This means that in order to provide an adequate supply of oxygen to the many millions of tissue cells, 2.5 million new red blood cells must be produced every second. In adults, these new cells are manufactured mainly in the bone marrow.

As the blood passes through the tiny capillaries – the smallest channels that carry blood to every tissue in the body carbon dioxide, and returns to the lungs to be cleansed again. The blood is slightly cooled and loses some of its water as it passes through the lungs. The amount of carbon dioxide that is released by the blood while digestion is taking place is greatly diminished by the use of such items as stimulating foods, sugar, animal foods, and even more by wine, rum, beer, ale, cider, tea, and coffee. Strenuous exercise increases the removal of carbon dioxide gas up to six times the ordinary amount.

The lungs are greatly improved by regular exercise.  When the lungs are not exercised and expanded to their limit on a regular basis, they lose to a greater or lesser degree their elasticity. In many persons, there is almost a total loss of the power to really expand the chest, which is very necessary for perfect health.  

Forming the habit of deep breathing will make you sleep better, think more clearly, have better circulation, and make you feel better all over because of the increased supply of oxygen that will be provided to every organ in your body.


Deep Breathing Exercise

The following exercise is most beneficial when it is done in the fresh air.

  1. Stand straight, placing your hands along your lower ribs, with the fingers pointing down and inward.

  2. Take in a slow deep breath through your nose, making sure you feel the lower ribs move outward.

  3. When you have filled your lungs with as much air as possible, force yourself to take another sniff of air. If your ribs have not moved outward, give them a slight tug by hooking your fingers beneath them.

  4. Now let the air out slowly through your mouth, keeping  the lips partly closed so there will be some resistance. When you feel like all the air has been let out, push the lower ribs in with your hands to force out the last little bit.

Start doing this exercise once three times a day and gradually work up to four or five deep breaths three times a day. You may vary this routine by breathing in rapidly and exhaling slowly or vice versa. Musicians and public speakers are open benefitted by taking these deep breathing exercises, as it helps them to develop better breath control. When a person feels weary and exhausted from sedentary employment, these practice of deep breathing in the manner just described, with the body erect and the chest well expanded, will prove very refreshing and will help induce a restful sound sleep. He great advantage of an abundance of lung exercise can be seen from the fact that professional singers suffer less from ling disease than others and their chests are always better developed than are those of most other persons.  The detrimental effects of breathing impure air, especially in a room where there are several people, are headache, nervousness, dullness, and aggravation of all diseases pertaining to the lungs. Current scientific studies show that there is an increase in lung cancer in nonsmokers who are constantly subjected to an atmosphere polluted with cigarette smoke. It is interesting to note that the cells that are the most sensitive to a lack of oxygen are the cells of the brain. The headaches with which school children are sometimes afflicted are often caused by breathing foul air. Turberculosis(consumption) is most frequent in those whose habits, vocations, or occupations are sedentary, as they usually spend much time in an atmosphere of impure air.

Walking increases the inhalation of oxygen threefold and has recently become one of the most popular forms of exercise in the United States. Participation in this wonderful and inexpensive exercise is possible by nearly everyone. Regular exercise in the open air is one of the most important factors for the preservation of health and the prolongation of life. The greater the degree of activity, the larger the amount of oxygen taken into our bodies. In cold weather we get a larger supply of oxygen than in hot weather., This makes us more active, both mentally and physically. Outdoor life in the cool fresh air of temperate zones have more energy than those who live in the tropics. A sound and vigorous body can only be produced by pure blood and healthy nerves.  Proper exercise in the open air and sunshine is among God's greatest gifts to man. It gives good from and strength to the physical body and - all other health habits being equal - is one of he surest safeguards against disease and premature death. Oxygen, is one of the best blood purifiers and one of the most effective nerve tonics.


From the book sold over five million since 1939

- Back to Eden ,  written by Jethro Kloss.  

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