7 Healthy Lifestyle Habits to Breathe Your Way to Better Health
Out of all of the elements on the earth, wind, water, fire and air, air is the cornerstone for human existence. Adam took his very first breath of fresh air when God breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, causing him to become a living soul, Genesis 2:7. We can survive for weeks without food and even a few days without water, but only a few minutes without air. Supplying the Body with Fresh Air through Exercise and Healthy Lifestyle Habits is the first of seven keys as shared in my book, Rock Your World Naturally: 7 Divine Keys to Unlock Extraordinary Health. In this article, I’ll explain the natural function of breathing and the significance associated with why you must get an adequate supply of fresh to keep your body healthy. I’ll also provide some beneficial breathing tools to aid you in developing rituals to improve and enhance your health. Besides, what could be more natural than breathing?
What is Breathing?
Breathing is a process that we don’t give much thought to. God divinely created our bodies to perform this automatic reoccurring function day in and day out. When we inhale fresh air, oxygen enters the lungs and is transported throughout the body by the blood. Breathing is responsible for several vital functions that include: supplying our kidneys and brain with oxygen-rich blood to operate properly, removing toxins like carbon dioxide from the body, regulating physiological and psychological functions, balancing our nervous and circulatory systems and plays a key role in controlling our metabolism. On the other hand, if the body does not receive adequate amounts of oxygen from fresh air our health begins to deteriorate.
Since oxygen was one of the first elements created by God to regulate and sustain the human body, it must be one of the primary areas of focus when addressing illness and physical health.
Why Fresh Air is Crucial
Empirical studies have proven that not supplying the body with adequate amounts of fresh air can result in oxygen deficiency and is linked to a plethora of health ailments (1, 2):
Dullness of mind
Elevated blood pressure
Cellular damage which can lead to cancer and other chronic illnesses
To determine if you are oxygen deficient, you can consult your doctor to have him or her measure your current oxygen levels. Consistently nourishing our bodies with fresh air is not a topic of discussion that receives much attention; however this key is crucial to our overall health. Healthcare providers are automatically trained to prescribe medications to treat symptoms that could very well be associated with oxygen deficiency. Imagine if we took a different approach to health care. Instead of automatically prescribing medications for migraines, insomnia, attention disorders, low energy or depression, what if physicians substituted it with a natural lifestyle prescription: get out into the fresh air at least 5 times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes. This is one of the most basic, yet highly effective keys to health and healing at the cellular level.
“But God has chosen the small, simple things to confound the wisdom of man”
I Corinthians 1:27
You might be asking, could something as simple as creating a routine practice of being outside and getting fresh air really improve my health? The answer is absolutely yes, and here’s why.
Why Getting Outside in Green Spaces Matters
One of the things that I love most about living in New Jersey is that is filled with an abundance of green space i.e. wooded areas, biking trails, parks and hiking trails. I make a point of spending quality time outside as much as possible because I understand the importance of flooding my body with fresh air. Have you ever noticed how your body feels, when get out into the fresh air after feeling sluggish or tired? Naturally, you feel more energized and refreshed because your body is getting a much needed supply of oxygen.
Individuals who spend adequate amounts of time in green space experience less anxiety and depression than those who live in industrial areas. On average, studies show that the concentration of salivary cortisol, a stress hormone, in people who walk through or look upon forest scenery or green spaces for 20 minutes is 13.4 percent lower than that of people in urban settings (3). Do you remember learning about the process of photosynthesis in grade school? If not, here’s a refresher. Basically, when sunlight touches green leaves on plant life, the leaves convert the light into energy and the leaves release oxygen into the atmosphere. Photosynthesis not only supplies most of the energy necessary for life on earth, God devised this process to provide us with an oxygen-rich environment to nourish our blood cells.
To give you an idea of just how many individuals are staying indoors in comparison to spending time outside, the average American spends 90% of their time inside enclosed buildings and vehicles, leaving our blood cells with a mere 10% exposure to fresh air (4). That’s an overwhelming amount of our time being spent closed inside! Unfortunately, over the past 20 years, the habit of remaining in enclosed spaces has also led to an increase in sickness. Ailments such as Sick Building Syndrome, nervous system damage, reproductive challenges, auto immune disorders, blood diseases, endocrine dysfunction, chronic headaches, irritability and visual disorders have steadily risen by as much as 50% (5). This list of illnesses is not exhaustive and can be traced back to toxins found in the blood stream. Because our health, life and vitality reside within our blood cells, we must be proactive by keeping them adequately nourished with fresh air. God’s original design involved man being one with nature and spending the majority of our lifetime outdoors.
“The life of all living creatures is in the blood”
Let’s Get Back to the Beginning
When God created Adam and Eve, He placed them in the Garden of Eden, in wide open spaces to interact with nature and to experience the healing benefits of creation. God in all of His infinite wisdom placed the sun in just the right position; not too close or too far away, to provide the earth and His children with an adequate supply of sunshine. He skillfully designed the outdoor environment with the precise levels of oxygen that He knew we would need to sustain the earth and to keep us healthy. Key number one, getting out into the fresh air, was the first stepping stone that God provided to us in our wellness plan. As God’s people, we must return back to this most essential, natural and basic key to maintain our health. This was and still is God’s original design.
“Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground - trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
To help you breathe your way to better health, here are 7 simple healthy habits incorporate into your daily lifestyle.
Make a habit of opening all of the windows in your home regularly, if not daily to allow fresh air to circulate through all of the rooms in your house.
Use ceiling fans or circulating fans instead of air conditioning units to keep your home ventilated and cool.
Fill your office or home with living plants. During photosynthesis, plants release an abundance of oxygen into the atmosphere.
Practice focused breathing during your walks for at least 15-30 minutes daily 5 times a week. Be sure to concentrate on your breathing i.e. inhaling deeply through your nose and exhaling completely through your mouth. If walking during the colder months, be sure to wear layers to stay warm. This is an invigorating way to jumpstart your day.
Establish an exercise routine outside 4-5 times weekly. Consider splitting your exercise routine 50/50 i.e. workout half indoors and half outdoors. If you need a partner to stick to your workout commitment, connect with someone from your church or in your community to stay accountable.
Practice deep breathing exercises 5 times a week for at least 15 minutes near an open window, door or outside.
When working indoors, take your breaks outside instead of remaining inside.
(1) Medical Problems in High Mountain Environments: A Handbook for Medical Officers,
US Army -Research Institute of Environmental Medicine Natick, Massachusetts 01760-5007
Allen Cymerman, Ph.D. and Paul B. Rock, LTC, MC February 1994
(2) Oxygen: Health Effects and Regulatory Limits Part I: Physiological and Toxicological Effects of Oxygen Deficiency and Enrichment Neil McManus, CIH, ROH, CSP Northwest Occupational Health & Safety North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada firstname.lastname@example.org www.nwohs.com http://www.nwohs.com/Oxygen%20Regulatory%20Limits%20I.pdf
(3) Forest therapy’ taking root: Researchers find that a simple stroll among trees has real benefits by Akaemi Nakmura