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The All Things Risk Podcast

The All Things Risk podcast explores the themes of risk, uncertainty and resilience as applied to sports, the arts, current affairs and just about any other domain. We feature long-form conversations with interesting guests who have loads of fascinating stories, tips and tools.
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Jun 8, 2020

Today’s episode in many ways is about resilience. There is an awful lot happening right now. We have a global pandemic of course, there are riots happening the USA following the murder of George Floyd – and protests around the world because of that event, a global economic recession, not to mention all the other stuff happening before all of this.

There is plenty of risk and uncertainty out there (and let’s not forget, opportunity). On top of that, we are all dealing with whatever personal stuff we have going on because well, we are all human. As a result, we need to think about resilience, and that means, getting back to basics – the breath.

That may sound strange. However, most people don’t know how to breathe properly. When we don’t breathe well, it increases stress, reduces resilience, and our overall quality of life. My guest today is Patrick McKeown. Patrick is a world-renowned author and breathing practitioner. His book, The Oxygen Advantage, is based on years of scientific research.

Patrick tailors his breathing exercises for anyone looking to improve their health, fitness, and sports performance. He works with professional and Olympic athletes. We was recently made a fellow of the Royal Society of Biology in the UK for his contribution to and understanding of breathing.

His message is simple – how we breathe at rest and exercise affects our health, including our mental health and our performance. That means nasal breathing and as you will hear, light breathing. And this also means nasal breathing throughout the day – sleeping, exercise, work and rest.

Patrick shares a ton of fascinating stuff about the breath, including:

  • Why most of us don’t breathe properly and what we can do about that;
  • The benefits of nasal breathing;
  • Breathing and anxiety and depression;
  • Why taking so-called ‘deep breaths’ is bad advice;
  • Exercises we can do to test and improve our breathing;
  • Comparisons between what Patrick does and the Wim Hof technique;
  • Tons more!

Show notes:

Patrick McKeown

The Oxygen Advantage

Patrick’s YouTube Channel

Links to the studies mentioned by Patrick

2 tests you can do – The Body Oxygen Level Test (BOLT) and The Maximum Breathlessness Test

Oura rings

The Vagus Nerve

Parasympathetic nervous system

The Bohr Effect

Stanford Medical School study on breathing and tranquillity

The Wim Hof method

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