Breathing: To improve physical and mental performance


By Free Motion Physiotherapy

To understand how breathing can optimize your physical and mental performance you first need to understand the basic physiology behind breathing, so let’s dig in: Breathing is not something we often think about as it occurs spontaneously. Our respiratory system is designed to trigger a breath when the body’s chemoreceptors detect increased carbon dioxide (CO2) levels. CO2 is a metabolic stress messenger. This means that straining your body during exercise or emotional stress will change your breathing. Increased CO2 will increase your breathing rate and heart rate. If your body can tolerate higher levels of CO2, it will be able to maintain a lower breathing rate and heart rate even though the body is being exerted due to physical or mental stressors. It is therefore important to train how to regulate your breathing to train your stress tolerance during exercise and in life.