Hyper ventilation (fast breathing) vs. Hypo ventilation (slow breathing)
Normal un-conscious breathing rate for an adult at rest, is between 12 – 20 breaths per minute. We can consciously decide that we are going to slow down or increase our breathing rate.
While engaging in physical exercises or when we escape a threat, we need to use our muscles. Our body needs more oxygen and produces more carbon dioxide. Because of this extra demand, our breathing rate increases, up to 40, 50 or even 60 breaths per minute (when exercising / escaping).
Just like many of us eat too much food, many of us breathe too much during rest & digest and by that we create and imbalance between CO2 and O2 in our body.
When we slow down the rate of our breathing, we use less muscle power to operate the lungs and we allow build-up of carbon-dioxide in the blood, which is needed for an efficient release of oxygen to the cells.
We can gradually slow down our breathing rate until we get to the discomfort-point, where we start to feel breath-shortage. The slowest breathing rate in which we don’t feel discomfort during a longer period of time, should be the goal for our breathing-rate.
Another advantage in slow breathing is that we allow the heat and moisture recycling mechanisms in our nose, to function more efficiently.