i took a tai chi class many years ago, in which the teacher admonished us to remember to keep breathing, or, to be more exact, to remember not to stop breathing. when i was in high school, during my very brief stint in track, i figured out that the best way to pace myself was to coordinate my in-and-out breaths to my foot falls. i found i was able to run further if i could maintain this rhythm. years later, when i used to walk a few miles during my lunch break every day, i used the same technique, matching my breathing to my foot steps. it was a meditative process, even overlaying a mantra over my breathing.
i have in recent years had to give up both running and walking, but i have long been an on again, off again meditator, and the same mantra rhythm has stayed with me. i spent some time with a physical therapist who reminded me not to hold my breath when working with hand weights or doing other strenuous exercises. seems like pretty common sense advice, but i was, as probably many of us do, holding my breath as i strained. so much easier when the proper breathing is maintained.
oddly enough, i just recently discovered that, as i dragged myself down the hall with my walker, i was, again, holding my breath, and, how much easier it was when i timed my “steps” with my breathing. also made me feel less likely to fall. amazing how the simplest things can make such a huge difference.