Carbon dioxide is just a waste product of breathing, right? Not so! In fact, the experts say that carbon dioxide loosens the bond between oxygen and hemoglobin within our red blood cells. So as long as we have to breathe anyway, let’s try to do it a little better so that we can have better tissue repair and brain fuel!

When we breathe too fast and too shallow (often related to breathing through our mouth and directing the incoming air to our chest, we expel the carbon dioxide too fast and this makes it so that the oxygen doesn’t get into our tissues as well.

Here are three tips… 1) Breathe through your nose. Your nose filters, conditions and humidifies the air. 2) Use your belly. Most of the oxygen receptor sites in your lungs are in the lower 1/3. The diaphragm muscle sits right under the lungs. Start breathing with your belly more and your chest less. 3) Take less breaths and breathe slower. If you’re 5’ tall, you should try to take 6 breaths per minute and if you’re 6’ tall you should be taking 3.5 breaths per minute, at a resting rate.

Fun Fact: Spartans-in-training were given water to hold in their mouth before going on a several-mile run. After the run, they would spit the water out. This taught them to breathe through their nose and maximize their inhalation phase, using their belly. This was done so they could build up and maintain their energy reserves upon going into battle because they didn’t know how long the battle would last and when they’d get to eat next.