Would you hire a personal trainer who smokes cigarettes and is 50 pounds overweight? Probably not. Well, I have to admit something … no, I don’t smoke and I’m not overweight. BUT as a certified health coach I have a skeleton in my closet..
Ready for it?
OK. Here goes … I struggle with exercise.
I wish I were one of those get up and go early-morning joggers. Those Stroller-Strider moms in my neighborhood: they annoy me. But maybe I’m just envious.
It’s not that I don’t exercise. I do because it’s so important for weight and pain management.
The problem is I rarely feel motivated to exercise.
A certified health coach that’s not motivated to exercise. Go figure. But ever since discovering the breakthrough, cutting-edge research called “The DNA Diet,” I have come to peace with exercise. That’s because in addition to mapping out the exact foods I should be eating, the DNA Diet also reveals the best type of exercise for my particular genetics. Fascinating!
I’d love to tell you more about The DNA Diet program.
Schedule a call with me and I’ll tell you all about it.
If you struggle with exercise like me I have some more good news…
There’s a very easy way to lower your stress and pain—without having to take a step!
Over the years as a certified health coach, and healthcare provider, I’ve worked with many people for which, at first, exercise was an impossibility.
That’s because when you have debilitating joint pain from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis or any other type of inflammatory disease, even walking down the street to fetch the mail can be grueling.
So what’s the secret trick to reducing stress and pain without exercising?
Not just any type of breathing will do. While you’re reading this, watching the news, talking on the phone or doing just about anything else, you’re not really breathing. Well, you are, sort of.
But the thousands of shallow breaths are merely an unconscious function to keep you alive. Shallow breathing does nothing to lower your body’s level of cortisol, aka “The Stress Hormone.”
The higher your cortisol levels, the easier it is to put on weight. And the more cortisol you have, the more sensitive to pain you are.
When you’re feeling very anxious, cortisol levels increase and testosterone levels decrease. (That’s not a good thing. Ladies need adequate levels of testosterone in order to maintain lean muscle.)
And when cortisol goes up and testosterone goes down, this produces a higher perception of pain than before the stressful situation occurs. But when you have Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) or any other type of autoimmune disease or inflammatory condition, stress is always lurking under the surface; that’s often a major contributor to why you’re frequently in pain.
Simple Breathing Routine For Anxiety and Pain Relief
So how do you properly breath in order to reduce cortisol (stress) and balance the immune system and decrease pain.
The first step is to lie down on the floor or in bed or wherever you’re most comfortable in the supine position.
Try to eliminate any distractions. (Turn off the talk radio and cable news).
You will want to breath in through your mouth during this routine. Imagine you’re gently sucking on a straw.
To begin, while you’re breathing in, first expand your belly. Even if you’re self-conscious of your belly, this is one time when I want you to be hyper-aware of your belly. So blow up your belly like a balloon. After you have fully expanded your belly, expand your chest as much as you can. Then, guide the inhalation all the way up to the top of your head.
This inhalation should last about 4-5 seconds. After the inhalation, hold your breath for a few seconds, then deflate your chest and belly but do not blow out all the air. For best results, repeat this 30 times (you may want to do this slightly reclined in a chair or lying down as some people may even get light headed the first time they do this because they blow off so much carbon dioxide. This may take some practice on your end. Can’t have you passing out on me 🙂 )
After 30 breaths, lie still without breathing for about a minute. Then, take one inhale and try to hold your breath for 15 seconds while tensing all the muscles in your body. Then let it go. Rest for a minute and then repeat the cycle. Aim for 3 rounds.
Benefits of Deep Breathing
You’ll probably feel a tingling sensation all over your body. You may even feel slightly lightheaded. This is perfectly normal yet deeply healing for the body.
This type of deep breathing practice will change your body’s pH level. Research has shown that in various states of disease, the body’s pH runs more acidic than in a healthy individual. Just one session of deep breathing can change your urine from acidic to alkaline. While your blood pH is a more important marker than urine, deep breathing over time may also raise the alkalinity in your blood.
If you suffer from pain, perhaps the biggest benefit of deep breathing is that it reduces your cortisol levels. And that in turn lowers your pain perception.
Deep breathing also helps balance your immune system. In fact, studies have shown that people injected with the toxic e. Coli bacteria while deep breathing barely had any flu-like symptoms. The researchers discovered that deep breathing activates anti-inflammatory proteins and decreases proteins that promote inflammation. Plus, deep breathing increases the activity of infection-fighting white blood cells.
Practice Makes Perfect
No, I didn’t invent the deep breathing technique I just shared with you. The inventor is a 61 year old guy from The Netherlands named Wim Hof. Through the deep breathing practice he pioneered, Hof is able to submerge himself in an ice bath for nearly two hours. And that research study I mentioned above where people willingly had themselves injected with e. Coli toxin? That was Wim Hof.
If you have Netflix, there’s a series called The Goop Lab. One of the episodes features Wim Hof. I encourage you to watch it. It’s pretty fascinating.
But I also encourage you to do Hof’s deep breathing practice every single day. The benefits from it are extraordinary. And did I mention that the best part is you don’t have to exercise? Well, in a future article, I’ll eventually have to write about exercise. In the meantime, isn’t it a big comfort knowing that just lying down in bed can be one of the healthiest things you can do—so long as you follow Wim Hof’s routine. Follow along to him in this 10-minute intro video on YouTube.
P.S. Don’t forget to schedule a call with me. You deserve to live your best life, pain-free! I’ll give you the skinny on how I can help.
Jenna L. Witt, APRN
Family Medicine/Functional Medicine
Certified Health Coach