Breathing And Muscular Excercises Combined
( Originally Published 1904 )
Do not for a moment suppose that deep breathing is to be practiced only as a brief spell of exercise each day. Breathe deeply all the time, for the more you do so, the longer you will live and the better will be the health that you will enjoy.
Still, it is during the use of specific exercises that one naturally pays the most attention to the subject of deep breathing. At such times, the mind is concentrated on the subject through the medium of the work.
The first thing that you ought to do when rising in the morning is to go to an open window or, best of all, right out of doors and there take in a great number of full, deep respirations.
It is possible, and not only that but necessary, to combine deep breathing with all muscular exercise. When you begin such exercise, be sure to assume a correct standing position, with chin well up and the chest given every opportunity to expand, and breathe deeply and regularly for at least three full minutes. Do not slight this way of beginning your muscular exercise. Do not get any notion into your head that it is unnecessary. It is highly necessary. Deep breathing as a preliminary, wonderfully increases the value of the time devoted to muscular work. Also pay heed to your work, in order that you may go through all of the movements with vim, accuracy and precision, but at the same time remember to keep on breathing deeply all the time that the muscles are being brought into play.
As often as you stop the muscular work, remember to continue the deep breathing. Your fatigue will disappear the more quickly if you do this. And al-ways bear in mind that the active employment of the muscles creates a demand for more oxygen in the blood.
Then too, an increase in the respirations supplies the blood with more oxygen to consume the used-up cells; quickened action of the heart hurries the blood on its building-up of tissue mission through the body. Also the living and healthy cells absorb much oxygen from the blood and thrive on it.
As has been repeatedly said, it is important to tand at an open window or out-of-doors and begin and finish your exercises with the deepest and fullest breathing that you possibly can. If the movements have been at all energetic, there is an abundance of tissue in the body that needs building-up or removal, and the great inrush of oxygen carries on this vital work swiftly. If you are in a perspiration and in-tend to bathe, it is an excellent idea to breathe deeply and cool off somewhat before you come in contact with the water.
A final word of caution under this head:
Never become so absorbed in your muscular work that you forget to do it to the constant accompaniment of full, regular, deep breathing!
Several exercises are included in this chapter that will be found valuable if combined with full deep breathing, though every exercise is most beneficial when so combined.
Exercise 1. Bring the shoulders as far forward as you can, as shown in the illustration. After bringing them as far for-ward as possible, make two or three at-tempts to force them still further forward. Inhale deeply and fully at frequent intervals while taking this exercise. Always continue until the muscles tire. This is for the pectoralis or breast muscles, and to assist in expanding chest.