Weight loss and deep breathing — aerobic and anaerobic exercise
Deep breathing delivers many of the benefits of exercise, including facilitating weight loss. Though not a substitute for exercise, it’s a great first step for women just beginning an exercise plan, and deep breathing enhances the benefits of any form of exercise. Let’s look at how these effects take place and their relationship to weight loss.
One basic measure of fitness is cardiovascular capacity — how much oxygen our heart and lungs can deliver to our cells. When muscle cells spring into action, they must have energy to burn and the waste products of that metabolism removed.
When our cardiovascular system can keep up with those demands, the exercise is said to be aerobic. When the demands of the exercise exceed our cardiovascular capacity, the exercise is anaerobic, and the metabolic steps change, so the cells begin tapping energy stored in the form of glycogen. But once the accumulated toxins reach a certain point, the muscle can’t keep working, and we “hit the wall.”
Aerobic or low-demand exercise has many health benefits. But anaerobic exercise is especially good at raising the capacity of the cardiovascular system — hence the term, “no pain, no gain.” The good news is that deep breathing also helps raise that capacity.
Another virtue of aerobic exercise is that it burns fat for energy rather than using up the cells’ energy supplies — an essential element in weight loss. We believe that deep breathing encourages the burning of fat even in low-demand activities. And don’t forget — whenever you are stressed, your body tends to burn glycogen, not fat, and through triggering the relaxation response, deep breathing encourages your body to burn fat instead.
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