Apart from staying properly hydrated, and enjoying a good social life to feel connected, there's another invaluable ingredient - often overlooked - to promoting good health and a longer life: breathwork.
To fully appreciate the benefits of breathing exercises and breathwork, you need to understand what hormesis is.
Hormesis is a concept that refers to short, intermittent bursts of specific stressors called “hermetic stressors” that trigger cellular processes within your body that make you more resilient to future physical and mental stress, which in turn boosts longevity. Breathwork, specifically breath holds, can serve as an effective hermetic stressor.
Breathing expert Patrick McKeown explains further: “You take a normal breath in and out through your nose, pinch your nose, and hold. Then start walking with the breath-hold and go into a jog. Keep going until the air hunger is quite strong, and then let go.” If you’re new to this kind of practice, then perhaps start yourself off with a walk before working your way up to a jog.
Keeping up this kind of exercise will help reduce your carbon dioxide sensitivity, an important marker for optimal respiratory strength. This increases carbon dioxide in your blood, which helps reduce your sensitivity to it. “That’s something we use a lot with athletes, but it does more than that: it will open up the nose; it will open up the lungs; it will increase blood flow to the brain,” McKeown adds.