He describes the process as follows: “You breathe in and out normally through your nose, press your nose together and hold. Then start walking and jogging with bated breath. Keep going until you feel quite hungry for air, then let go. “Perhaps start with a simple walk and work your way up to jogging after a few sessions.
Essentially, this exercise reduces your sensitivity to carbon dioxide – which, in case you didn’t know, is an important marker of top notch breathing strength. “What this can do is increase the level of carbon dioxide in your blood and it can help decrease your sensitivity to the gas,” McKeown adds. “It’s something we use a lot in athletes, but it does more than that: it opens the nose, it opens the lungs, it increases blood flow to the brain.”
Additionally, according to McKeown, holding your breath can cause the spleen to contract, which can improve your oxygen-carrying capacity: “The spleen is our blood bank,” he says. “It contains about 8% of our red blood cells. So when you hold your breath for a long time, the spleen releases red blood cells into the circulation. This is why we let athletes do this before they go to a game because it takes about 10 to 60 minutes for the spleen to reabsorb this blood. ”(He also has an entire YouTube video discussing the subject if you are curious.)