Your body breathes on autopilot — so why worry about how to inhale and exhale? Scientific research is showing that mindful breathing — paying attention to your breath and learning how to manipulate it — is one of the most effective ways to lower everyday stress levels and improve a variety of health-related factors ranging from mood to metabolism. Mindful breath control is all at once a physical health practice, mental health practice, and meditation. It is not just breath training; it’s also mind training that uses breath as a vehicle and can make your entire life better.
This is the sage advice dispensed by Pine Run’s Director of Fitness & Aquatics, Kevin Mallon, in his weekly meditation class called BREATHE. Gently tucked between the energized slate of morning fitness classes and afternoon entertainments, the mid-day hour of mindful breathing leaves attendees feeling refreshed and balanced.
“My degree is in Exercise and Sport Science from Ursinus College,” notes Mallon. “We learned there is a direct relationship between breath rate, mood state, and the autonomic nervous system. We tend to huff at a fairly quick clip most of the time, anywhere from 14 to 20 breaths per minute, and that rate is three times faster than the 5 or 6 breaths per minute proven to help feel your best. I remind participants that slowing your breath induces the parasympathetic response, dialing down the stress response as it turns up relaxation, calm, and mental clarity.”
Mallon recommends breathing rhythmically, smoothly, and that the location of the focus of breathing should be the center of the chest-heart region. Why the heart? According to the HeartMath Institute, attention to the heart stimulates more positive emotion and thought.Recent studies show the heart manufactures and secretes oxytocin, which can act as a neurotransmitter and is commonly referred to as the love or social bonding hormone.
Good to know!
Use this helpful acronym as a guide to get started – B.R.E.A.T.H.E.
Breathe – Rhythmically – Evenly – And – Through the – Heart – Everyday
Living well is part of every day at Pine Run. Call 800.992.8992 to find out more about residency options and discover the benefits of our complete personal wellness program.