Anyone who’s watched a Hollywood blockbuster about survival in space will already be acutely aware of the importance of oxygen in our ability to survive and to function comfortably. Yet so often this odourless, invisible gas which makes up about 21% of our atmosphere is overlooked in terms of its role in our levels of health and fitness. The relevance of oxygen (and its lack) within the body’s cells is becoming increasingly acknowledged in a number of diseases, along with the ‘natural’ process of ageing. If you’re aware that your cells could do with receiving some more oxygen, check out the suggestions below for some cheap and easy methods:
1) Take a Deep Breath…
Despite the fact that you’ve been breathing sufficiently well to sustain your life since the moment you were born, it may be possible to improve your effectiveness. Especially when we’re unwell, we’re likely to breathe from our chest, quite rapidly. this means we’re really only utilising the top and middle of our lungs, while the greatest concentration of alveoli (the tiny sacs within our lungs that act as doorways into the blood for oxygen) are found at the base of the lungs. This means that if you concentrate on filling our lungs with air, using your diaphragm, rather than just your chest (making your stomach move, not just your chest) (and then exhaling fully too – that’s also important!) you can increase the amount of oxygen you take in and absorb into your blood to reach the cells that need it!
Breathing in through your nose also makes a difference to the ‘effectiveness’ of your breath – wherever possible focus on slow, deep, nose breathing to make the most of your essential inhalations!
Click here for some basic breathing exercises.
2) Drink more Water…
Optimise your hydration to make sure all your metabolic reactions (your life processes!) are working properly – and to transport blood and other bodily fluids smoothly. Without enough water, all bodily functions are diminished, including the detoxification process as well as energy production within the cells (‘cellular respiration’).
The viscosity (thickness or thinness) of your blood is directly affected by your water intake – if you drink less water, the ‘thicker’ your blood becomes, which makes it harder for nutrients and oxygen to be transported smoothly around the body to where they’re required.
Ensure the water you drink is of the best possible quality – avoid chemical or biological contaminants whenever you can and choose water that will simply enhance your life and oxygenation rather than add to your toxic load!
3) Take a Trip to the Sea…
If you’ve ever wondered why you sleep better and generally feel re-energised after a trip to the coast, it’s probably because of the sea air. Of course taking a break from day-to-day life and spending relaxing time in nature is of great benefit in itself, yet sea air is choc-full of negative ions – these are oxygen particles charged with an extra electron which accelerate your ability to absorb oxygen.
Negative ions are created by a certain effect of sunlight on moving air and water – on the beach (and in the mountains – especially near waterfalls) there are believed to be tens of thousands of negative ions, compared with just dozens (or none!) in the average city home.
Negative ions also balance levels of serotonin, the mood-boosting body chemical that helps us deal with stress – so what more excuse do you need to book a seaside holiday?!
4) Swing your arms!…
Aerobic exercise (which literally means activity aiming to improve the absorption and transportation of oxygen around the body) is an obvious way to improve oxygen levels. When the heart is encouraged to pump faster and harder, blood is pushed more quickly around the body and the lymphatic system (your body’s ‘waste-removal’ system) is stimulated and toxins and waste more easily flushed from the body (making it easier for oxygen utilisation), so a double bonus for your cells!
Walking and rebounding (bouncing on a small trampoline) are both great methods of improving oxygenation. However, for many people, even that amount of physical activity may be too strenuous. For individuals who need a more gentle option, QiGong offers a powerful and relatively easy alternative. QiGong is an ancient Chinese health care system incorporating physical postures, breathing techniques and focused intention. One of the popular ‘oxygen-increasing’ techniques is colloquially known as ‘Ape Arms’ (you can find out more by Googling…) – whereby the arms are swung backwards and forwards quite powerfully, allowing the chest to expand, increasing bloodflow and stimulating lymph flow in the chest. It is said that daily practice of ‘Ape Arms’ may dramatically increase your oxygen uptake.
Of course, as with any new exercise programme, it is important to take into account your own particular needs and bodily state and consult an appropriate health practitioner if appropriate.
5) Alkalise your diet…
Go green! How acid / alkaline your body is and the effect this has on your health is quite a controversial topic in the health world. With regard to oxygenation, it has been established that when the blood is more acidic, the haemoglobin in red blood cells release oxygen more readily and don’t ‘pick it up’ as much. When blood is more alkaline, more oxygen is generally taken up and transported by the blood cells. This is known as the Bohr Effect and is an important physiological phenomenon in terms of the blood cells ‘collecting’ oxygen in the lungs, transporting it around the body and then releasing it in the tissues that really require it (especially those undergoing a lot of activity, which increases carbon dioxide levels, which in turn increases acidity…)
It may follow that ensuring a more alkaline (i.e. plant-based) diet, can increase alkalinity of the blood, improving uptake of oxygen from the lungs and more targeted delivery to where it’s really needed.
Of course, vegetables and fruits are often the most full of nutrients such a vitamins and minerals that cells also need to utilise oxygen most efficiently – so keeping up a good intake of nutrients through an alkaline diet can improve utilisation as well as uptake of oxygen!
6) Nurture your plants…
Of course everyone knows that as part of their life process, plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen back into the atmosphere (on a global scale, pretty essential for human life…) – yet some plants are believed to carry out the ‘oxygen-releasing process’ more effectively than others – and some have been shown to complete the ‘carbon-dioxide to oxygen’ process particularly at night – so if you want to increase the amount of oxygen available for use in your bedroom at night, get a few more houseplants! The Snake Plant (also known as ‘Mother-in-law’s Tongue’) and the Gerbera Daisy are supposed to be particulary good in this regard. They brighten up the room too! Just make sure you keep them watered sufficiently, as obviously they do need to be alive to provide you with the extra oxygen!
In addition to oxygenation effects these plants may also be good at generally purifying the air by removing toxic chemicals such as benzene. Maybe try a Gerbera Daisy on your nightstand for a better night’s sleep?
Unless you choose the ‘sea’ in Hawaii or The Bahamas, the suggestions above are likely to be affordable and easily accessible for most people. If you’re looking to improve your oxygenation more intensively and consistently, or the above options just don’t appeal, give us a call about Activated Oxygen Therapy – another safe and highly effective method of improving the uptake and utilisation of oxygen within your cells to provide greater energy within the body and improve all metabolic reactions. 01743-718-324.