For something we do every second of every day, you’d think breathing properly would be simple, so how is it that most of us get it wrong?

Breathing dynamics expert and naturopath Tim Altman  says that for optimum  health we should take 8-10 breaths per minute, which equates to 12,000 to 14,000 breaths a day. But the average person takes 25,000 to 30,000 breaths a day. That’s more than 5 million extra breaths every year… Oh My Goodness that’s a lot of unnecessary breathing!

“I measure  people’s breathing efficiency and it is very rare to find people who can breathe according to the diagnostic norms,” explains Tim.


Tim Altman

Stress causes over breathing, habit maintains it. There is a serious disconnect between the bodies we inherited from our hunter gatherer ancestors and the realities of the fast paced world we live in today. From a genetic perspective, our bodies still think we are wandering the bush.

“When we over breathe it means we don’t get the health benefits that proper breathing delivers.  It reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches our cells, which effects energy production.  This can make us tired and ill as  most bacteria, viruses, fungi and even cancers thrive in an oxygen poor environment.

“It also effects our respiratory, circulatory, digestive, lymphatic, nervous and urinary systems, which contributes to a number of ailments including allergies, headaches, migraines, stress, anxiety and depression.”

It’s fascinating to think that something as simple as changing the way we breathe can have such a profound effect on our bodies. And even more staggering to think that if we take around 15,000 less breaths each day, we could feel less stressed, more relaxed, have more energy, get sick less, and improve our athletic performance. It’s a no brainer, isn’t it?

Right, so how do we do it?

Tim’s tips for breathing properly:

  1. Keep your mouth closed, unless you are eating, speaking or kissing
  2. Breathe using your nose and diaphragm instead of your mouth,  chest and shoulders
  3. Exhale for 50% longer than you inhale

And here is a simple exercise Tim recommends practising daily:

  • Inhale for a count of 2
  • Pause for a count of 3
  • Exhale for 3
  • Pause for 2

Once you find this easy progress to this cycle:

  • Inhale for 3
  • Pause for 5
  • Exhale for 5
  • Pause for 3

To get in touch with Tim go to his website:

Happy breathing!


Zara is founder and editor of Oh My Goodness. A certified holistic health coach, National Breast Cancer Foundation speaker and Bupa health influencer award finalist, Zara is passionate about making it as easy and fun for people to lead a healthy lifestyle. She's appeared on The Project and Today Show; her recipes have been featured on I Quit Sugar, Sport Luxe, and Show and Tell Online; and she's a regular contributor to Medibank's Be. Magazine and Fairfax health online.

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