The Longevity Athlete Blog
Breathing easier may not come from simply exercising more, if that exercise does not address the particular ways in which your respiration is being restricted. There is more happening in breathlessness than just not enough air.
We might not be able to change what we are facing, but we can work on our skill for improving how we face it. This is very hard to do if we’re trying it for the first time in the midst of a great life tragedy. But it will be much easier to apply in harder times if we’ve already been practicing it in milder ones.
What this breathlessness points to is not the need for more exercise to get those cells more oxygenated an hour or so a day. Actually, normal daily breathing needs to be corrected first. The default pattern of breathing (for sleep, sitting and walking about in daily life) needs to be corrected so that the cells are being abundantly supplied and served outside of exercise time. During all those hours of non-exercise breathing the cells throughout the body are being prepared to handle more exercise later. This is when resources are being built up so that the person can workout to a their actual potential.
If I feel any craving for [dessert], I scan my body to determine the nature of that craving. If I need more nutrients of some sort I think about what I just ate and wonder if I needed more of some part of that meal. If I feel a purely psychological craving, then I ponder the nature of that craving, wondering what it tells me about my self, or my social setting.
…the sense of progress can be tricky to pin down. On one hand, I am getting better at handling, even preventing some kinds of storms that have been common in my life. Some areas of life seem to be calmer overall. On the other hand, I am also facing new kinds of storms, or more intense ones which can overwhelm me. The situations that cross my path in life are not obliged to stay in the same league as my skills, however advanced I become.
…even before we know how to deal with the situation itself and remove the trigger, we are not completely helpless to suffer the stress constantly. We can do something with the stress energy and chemicals in the body. We must do something with them.
Rather than view your athletic activity as a threat to your longevity, use it to positively pressure you to deal with problems that the athletic training exposes. Rather than give up and back way off from difficult activity, press in to the problem. Seek out help. Become educated and trained in addressing the specific problems that your aches and pains are trying to alert you to.
…each person can choose to add beneficial behaviors and remove harmful ones in order to stack the deck in favor of this outcome. Doing sports and being ‘athletic’ could be helpful to the goal of longevity, but it is not necessary. One could be sufficiently active with their body in many other ways.
This American culture I live in urges us to get as much as we can, as quickly as we can. It is a consumption mindset, rather than a mastery mindset. If we’ve accomplished our first 5K, why not just go for a marathon next! More is better! The sooner the better! Come on, your friends are doing it, so why not you too?
But lasting satisfaction comes from more than just consuming quantities. It comes as much or more from developing qualities.
…what I wish I had understood early in my sports life was that the body needs to be prepared to with general kind of strength and capability before it can safely handle the specific kind of strength and intensity of my chosen sport.
…though we put those clothes in the wash and while fresh and folded they seem to smell nice, the moment those clothes come into contact with warm skin, for some reason the embedded stinky smell starts coming out of them, even before we start sweating again!
The techniques and training methods you use have costs attached to them, as well as benefits. That cost/benefit needs to match your values. You need to find role models that share your values and goals, and show you the path ahead.