Balance is something that even elite athletes must work on every day. Balance is also part of many other exercises. It is especially important to seniors because falling appears to be the number one cause of hospitalization and death for those over sixty. Good balance can help prevent falls.
Breath is also a part of every exercise, or should be. Breath is key to energy regulation and health. It requires exercise to overcome years of bad habits and improve our oxygenation. Deep, slow, tension free breath through the nose is the goal of the exercises. My favorite author in this area is James Nestor, and his book, Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art (May 2020). For follow-up check out his Facebook group page, Pulmonauts.
There have been major breakthroughs in scientific understanding of the importance of breathing through your nose in the past few years. We have learned that much more is going on in your sinuses and nostrils than just filtering the air. Important chemicals are created by air flow through the sinus chambers, including the gas, Nitric Oxide, which is critical to good health, especially blood flow. For the science supporting this, see: Weitzberg E, Lundberg JON. (2002) Humming greatly increases nasal nitric oxide, Am J Respir Crit Care Med 166: 144-145.12; Shusterman, D.J. , Jansen, K. , Weaver, E.M., Documentation of the nasal nitric oxide response to humming: Methods evaluation, Eur J Clin Invest 37: 746–752, 2007; G Nair, R Nandhan, M Kameswara, Role of Nitric Oxide in the Paranasal Sinuses-” Demystifying the Aerocrine Organ”, Otolaryngol, 2020 – researchgate.net; and, more generally, Belvisi MG, Ward JK, Mitchell JA, Barnes PJ. (1995) Nitric oxide as a neuro transmitter in human airways, Arch Int Pharmacodyn Ther 329:97. For more information, including a copy of the base study, see my Blog, The Science Behind 130 Hertz Humming to Increase Nitric Oxide.
Mouth breathing, which is a bad habit for twenty percent of the population, is certainly to be avoided in favor of nose breathing.
Nose breathing will be addressed here at length, especially recent studies that show how Nitric Oxide production can be increased fifteen-fold simply by humming, preferably at or around 130 hertz (the one commercial product on the market by Sinusonic uses 128 hertz). This has something to do with resonance. Science does not yet fully understand how and why it works, but it does. The tests have now been repeated by several research groups. We are doing self-experimentation with this now, including eliminating all “mouth breathing.” Nose breathing has many benefits and, for many people, mouth breathing is just a bad habit. Good nose and sinus health is important and care should be taken to maximize your breath and oxygenation, which ironically, comes with breathing less and allowing for full exhale of carbon dioxide.
Three Breathing Exercises
We have created three breathing exercise tools. The first is a beginners level 10 second breath exercise. It uses a puffer fish image to help slow your breath down to ten seconds. This is good to help kids calm down. The second intermediate breath exercise uses 16 second box breathing, four seconds inhale, four hold, four exhale, four hold. The advanced uses 20 second long breaths to really slow you down into a healthy parasympathetic state of deep relaxation. All three breath exercises below are accompanied by a special type of meditation called PrimaSounds, which Losey created. The relaxation inducing music is enhanced with 130 hertz tones to increase the nitric oxide nasal production.
Breathing Exercise Theories
There are several theories of breath are under investigation, see eg. Patrick McKeown (breath is his sole focus); Professor Andrew Huberman (Stanford Medical School, Neurobiology); William Hoffman (the Ice Man); Laird Hamilton (pro surfer Hoffman student). It is clear that breath work is very important to our health, including stress and blood pressure regulation.
The video below is by James Nestor, who is a terrific journalist and writer. His book tells a compelling story of lost arts and cutting edge scientific research, of eccentrics and mystics, breathers all. Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art (May 2020). Nestor shows why breath is key to everyone’s health, physical and mental. All the leaders Nestor interviewed recommended conscious breathing of one kind or another, all including relaxing slow, deep nose breathing. Please stop mouth breathing. Like now. Consider it a body-mind exercise. This is ancient knowledge, lost then rediscovered. Nestor explains the science behind the traditions, why less is more with breath. He puts it into historical, evolutionary perspective. The great story he tells includes archeology and an unofficial “this never happened” crypt tour beneath Paris. The Video Podcast interview below also provides critical information on breath and COVID-19. See the video at 53:11 where Nestor speaks about the virus. See at 1:12:20 on wearing masks (not harmful if you nose breathe) and 1:15:14 on longevity (breathing and flexibility help).
For the views of another expert, a scientist, not a journalist, see the excerpt below from a talk by Professor Andrew Huberman. He provides information and practical tips from his breathing research for the military (special forces) on stress control. It pertains to types of breathing and arousal states. The second video provides more information from him on stress control. This is reliable information and we recommend trial of the breathing techniques he shares. That is why we created the Box Breathing exercise video tool above.
Breathing through the nose, as opposed to mouth breathing, has long been known to be important. Recent scientific research has allowed us to better understand why. As James Nestor explained in his video above, scientists have detected the production of very small gas molecules in the sinuses: nitric oxide (NO). Its presence helps explain the power of nose breathing.
NO has many amazing properties, including antibacterial and antiviral. NO produced in the sinuses travels throughout the body and blood stream. These small gas molecules have cleansing antiviral properties on the lungs. NO also helps control blood pressure regulation. It relaxes the blood vessels and, interestingly, also stimulates erections. Many different functions as shown by the chart.
According to Nestor NO only has a shelf-life (bio-availability) of two to six seconds. So keep breathing through your nose. Mouth breathing should be avoided. The buzz on this humming research is well deserved. Check out our blog post, The Science Behind 130 Hertz Humming to Increase Nitric Oxide. The blog includes the original scientific studies followed by multiple videos on the subject by Medical Doctors. These videos and other research explain the efforts I have made to add 128 – 130 hertz tones to the relaxation and meditation music of PrimaSounds.
Disclaimer. These videos are not endorsements and we have no association with the presenters. Do your own due diligence. Of course, consult your doctor. We do not provide medical advice. If you do try these techniques out and want to share, we are interested. What happened? Any questions, observations? Again, send us an email or in the Comments below.
Dr. Peter Attia – “Kick-Ass 100” – A Question of Balance.
One expert on fitness and longevity we respect is Dr. Peter Attia. He is featured in the recommended YouTube videos at the bottom. As a young doctor he is working on a fitness programs to help himself and his patients to become a “Kick Ass 100 Year Old.” (I picked up the expression from Dr. Attia.) This is a shared goal of PS Based training and its seven types of exercises.
Getting back to Balance Again. Balance is very important to longevity, along with breath, should be included in any seniors training. Below is an excerpt on Balance from Attia’s interview by Tom Bilyeu; the full video is shown here on the bottom left YouTube collection.
Now, to finish with a different perspective, here are the thoughts on Breath of our self-defense expert, Joe Robaina.