Too Pooped to Pop? Try Heavy Breathing

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to energize your leading skills. Reading time: 2:06

          You’re tired. You’ve worked hard all day in budget meetings. You can’t wait to get home, grab a cool one and put your feet up. On the treadmill or exercise bicycle.

Handball player in action

           Leaders make the time every day to do some heavy breathing of another kind, enough heavy breathing to virtually blow away the cobwebs in their brains so they can think more clearly and lead more convincingly.

       Heavy breathing is the key according to scientists who tell us your brain regularly consumes more than 30 percent of your body’s oxygen even though it comprises only 3 % of the body’s weight.

      You’re sucking in  8 quarts of air per minute right now as you sit still to read this. Go for a walk and you triple that air flow. Go for a run and you increase it 625% —to 50 quarts per minute!

     With their heavy breathing from exercise, leader even add a touch of magic  to their performance.  Just ask Houdini the great magician and escape artist.

Harry Houdini, Escape artist

       How else do you explain this scenario? You’re 52 and you have just established a world record for staying underwater in an air-tight coffin.

     You obliterated the old record. You stayed underwater for 91 minutes, four times longer than anyone else ever had. You emerge from your underwater coffin and you immediately go to play handball at the YMCA. Whew!

     “The best way to get rid of fatigue is to work it off,” said Houdini, shrugging off any sense of exhaustion.

      How do you perform that well under stress? With plenty of heart. Houdini reasoned that if the heart is a muscle all he had to do was exercise that muscle faster to circulate more oxygenated blood even if each unit of blood was now carrying less oxygen.

       So Houdini exercised his heart to  beat 142 times a minute, nearly 70% increase over his starting heart rate of 84 beats per minute.

       His hearty performance was so  impressive that no one even attempted the underwater record for 20 years. Then  James Randi –half the age of Houdini at the time of his feat– was able to stay underwater for 63 minutes or 28 fewer minutes than Houdini. Finally three years later Randi did break Houdin’s 23-year old record by 13 minutes.

     The leadership lesson is clear: Take a breather. Blow away the competition and blow away the cobwebs in your brain.

Today’s ImproveMINT

Exercise to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

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