Tuesday, September 8

Slow down, you move too fast

Apparently Simon & Garfunkel were right. For those of you old enough to remember when Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel were a duo, you probably recall "Feeling Groovy" also known as the "59th Street Bridge" song. The song began with these memorable lines:
Slow down, you move too fast
You got to make the morning last
Just kicking down the cobblestones
Looking for fun and feeling groovy
The pace of the song is a fun, happy-go-lucky, breezy sort of tune that tends to make you feel, well, groovy.

Anyway, earlier today I heard someone talking about breathing patterns and the doctors have found most Americans take about 20 breaths per minute. I feel like I'm going to hyperventilate just thinking about breathing that fast. Apparently optimal breathing is about 6 breaths per minute with a longer exhale than inhale. And, of course, you should be breathing from your diaphragm, not your chest. I also heard that we get approximately 80 to 90% of our energy from the way we breath, which seems odd, but I understand how panting at 20 breaths per minute could be exhausting.

An article in Wikipedia suggests that optimal adult breathing is 12-20 breaths per minute, which means that 6 is really, really slow. The article also states that of two groups being tested for optimum breathing, [o]ne of the groups learned 'complete yoga breathing,' a style of respiration that encourages slow, deep breathing at a rate of about six breaths per minute. Those patients continued practicing the breathing method at home for an hour a day. After a month, the patients practicing the breathing technique breathed more slowly, had higher levels of blood oxygen, and performed better on exercise tests."

So there may be something to that slow breathing. No doubt, there is something to the idea of slowing down, relaxing a bit more, "looking for fun and feeling groovy"!

As for my breathing count? I should mention that my blood pressure, even when I'm really incredibly stressed remains low. I counted my breathing and found that I'm at 12 breaths per minute. Not bad, I suppose, but apparently room for feeling a little more groovy.

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