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The Oxygen Advantage: Simple, Scientifically Proven Breathing Techniques to Help You Become Healthier, Slimmer, Faster, and Fitter Paperback – Illustrated, November 29, 2016
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A simple yet revolutionary approach to weight loss, fitness, and wellness lies in the most basic and most overlooked function of your body—how you breathe. Improve your body’s oxygen use and increase your health, weight loss, and sports performance—whether you’re a recovering couch potato or an Ironman triathlon champion. With a foreword by New York Times bestselling author Dr. Joseph Mercola.
One of the biggest obstacles to better health and fitness is a rarely identified problem: chronic over-breathing. We often take many more breaths than we need—without realizing it—contributing to poor health and fitness, including a host of disorders, from anxiety and asthma to insomnia and heart problems.
In The Oxygen Advantage, the man who has trained over 5,000 people—including Olympic and professional athletes—in reduced breathing exercises now shares his scientifically validated techniques to help you breathe more efficiently. Patrick McKeown teaches you the fundamental relationship between oxygen and the body, then gets you started with a Body Oxygen Level Test (BOLT) to determine how efficiently your body uses oxygen. He then shows you how to increase your BOLT score by using light breathing exercises and learning how to simulate high altitude training, a technique used by Navy SEALs and professional athletes to help increase endurance, weight loss, and vital red blood cells to dramatically improve cardio-fitness.
Following his program, even the most out-of-shape person (including those with chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma) can climb stairs, run for a bus, or play soccer without gasping for air, and everyone can achieve:
- Easy weight loss and weight maintenance
- Improved sleep and energy
- Increased concentration
- Reduced breathlessness during exercise
- Heightened athletic performance
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Elimination of asthmatic symptoms, and more.
With The Oxygen Advantage, you can look better, feel better, and do more—it’s as easy as breathing.
“McKeown introduces readers to the “Oxygen Advantage,” an innovative but complex breathing technique that purportedly improves overall health… McKeown’s confident attitude should help his book appeal to a wide audience.” — Publishers Weekly
“I’m an NFL wide receiver and my Bolt Score was 13. Three weeks later it’s 30 and improving; running has gotten so much easier. I’m in better shape for another opportunity because I’m so much better at the simple act of breathing. It really does add up!” — Jay Wisner, NFL Free Agent
“Patrick McKeown, breathing trainer and author of The Oxygen Advantage, recommends breathing through your nose…It’ll feel weird, but within a few weeks, you’ll notice you can exercise longer and don’t tire as quickly.” — Dr. Oz The Good Life
From the Back Cover
THE SECRET TO HEALTH, FITNESS, AND WEIGHT LOSS LIES IN HOW YOU BREATHE.
One of the biggest obstacles to your health and fitness is a rarely identified problem—and one that is unknown outside of medical journals: chronic overbreathing. We can breathe two to three times more air than required without even knowing it, and chronic overbreathing leads to loss of health and poor fitness and contributes to problems such as anxiety, asthma, fatigue, insomnia, heart problems, and even obesity.
Within minutes you can improve the amount of oxygen delivered to active muscles and organs by changing how you breathe, using the simple and easy-to-apply techniques in this book. Whether you’re an elite athlete looking to simulate high-altitude training or an everyday person looking for more daily stamina and health benefits, these revolutionary, scientifically validated breathing exercises have the potential to maximize and drastically improve your current performance level.
- Publisher : William Morrow Paperbacks; Illustrated edition (November 29, 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 368 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062349473
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062349477
- Item Weight : 9.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.31 x 0.83 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #17,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in the United States on September 24, 2019
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There are three components to the Oxygen Advantage program which addresses this over-breathing. They are explained clearly and supported with anecdotal and scientific studies, and tips and exercises are given to develop them. I appreciate the scientific explanation (which is not tedious), because it provides real support and conviction for engaging the process.
The three components could be summarized as:
1) Breathe through the nose while awake (including when exercising) and asleep
2) “Breathe Light to Breathe Right”
3) Increase your ability to comfortably hold your breath
#1 Breathe through the nose- Personally I already took #1 for granted when I came across this book. The reasons for nose-breathing are explained thoroughly in this book, and a very persuasive case is also made in John Douillard’s “Body, Mind, and Sport”. Reading that book convinced me to learn to run without mouth-breathing, which has already convinced me that nose-breathing is calmer and healthier and more efficient than mouth-breathing. This book has shown me that I still have some work to do in this area, but what got me excited about the book immediately was working with breath holds. However, breathing through the nose at all times would have to be considered the most fundamental building block of the program, I believe.
#2 Breathe Light to Breathe Right- In the book, a tai chi master is quoted as saying, “Generally speaking, there are 3 levels of breathing. The first one is to breathe softly, so that a person standing next to you does not hear you breathing. The second level is to breathe softly so that you do not hear yourself breathing. And the third level is to breathe softly so that you do not feel yourself breathing.” The author was told that at tai chi tournaments, judges pay particular attention to the breathing of the contestants, and if they can notice their breathing, points are deducted! More about this topic shortly.
#3 Increase your ability to hold your breath- This topic is what initially captured my attention, because I experienced immediate positive effects from practicing breath holds. At my starting level, the exercises are simple and mild affairs, where the breath is held after an exhalation (while walking for example), only to the point of feeling a tolerable need for air (both words, “tolerable” and “need” being key). Breathing should be back to normal after the hold in 3 breaths or so, or the hold is overly intense.
This simple exercise, practiced for 15 minutes a day, has had an immediate and continuing effect on my well-being. As the number of paces I can walk comfortably while breath-holding slowly goes up, so does the benign unfolding of this process. There are many things developing at once, but here’s an attempt to summarize my subjective experience so far:
1) The exercise influences my breath to calm and slow down throughout the day. This has brought my attention to the real importance of “Breathe Light to Breathe Right”, which initially went over my head. A deep breath is not something I TAKE, or grab, or force, or make an effort to achieve. I do not get “more” by breathing more! (The specifics of the exercises are in the book, but as the author says, “Breathe Light to Breathe Right is not just an exercise, it is a way of life”.)
2) There is a psychological stress around breathing that this process is helping to dissolve. The first tolerable need for breath is not a danger signal, any more than beginning to get hungry should lead to panic. As this stress unwinds, there is relaxation and calm mindfulness in its place, with more relaxation in movement and effort.
3) I have an undeniable increase in physical well-being.
Of course, everyone who works with this book will have a different starting point and experience of the process. I feel that it is a fantastic boon to discover that I have adapted to over-breathing in my life (just the opposite of what I have been conditioned to believe), and begin to unwind it. I think therefore it is only kind to recommend that anyone find out for themselves if they over-breathe. I don’t think there can be many more fundamental discoveries than this to make about oneself - perhaps one or two profound spiritual discoveries would fill the bill!
There is considerable information presented on the health benefits of this program, with almost 300 references to supporting theories and compelling evidence. And there are recommendations for how practically everyone can safely engage the process, from someone in poor health to someone in superb physical condition. Check it out!
1) The author recommends the ingestion of sodium bicarbonate, to aid in keeping the body's pH normal. Admittedly, this is a very sore subject for me, as I see SO many people talking online in recent years about how, of course, acidity causes cancer, so if you just make your body more alkaline, you will be healthier all around. Now, thank goodness Patrick didn't cite and (mis)quote the research of Dr. Otto Warburg, like everyone else does, when they want to make this point. However, after much research on the subject, it has become clear to me that ingesting sodium bicarbonate is, at the very least, useless, and at most, potentially harmful. Allow me to explain: The body, as a whole, isn't supposed to be alkaline, as everyone "knows." There are certain organs and tissues in the body which are alkaline, but there are others which are acidic, such as the adrenals and the digestive tract. So making a blanket statement like I mentioned before is completely oversimplified and downright inaccurate. So, he advocates ingesting sodium bicarbonate. Generally, if you take a small amount of it, all that will happen is your stomach acid will neutralize it, so it will have no effect whatsoever on your blood or anything else. Secondly, if you take enough to completely neutralize your stomach acid, and make it into the rest of your digestive tract, you are disrupting one of the most important mechanisms the body has for overall health. Your stomach releasing hydrochloric acid is extremely important for MANY reasons: proper gastric emptying, proper motility of the GI tract, absorption of protein, signal to release the digestive enzymes from the pancreas and gall-bladder, etc. If you disrupt that process, you are setting the state for some serious dysfunction down the line, such as the normally harmless yeast in the GI tract morphing into their fungal state, which is a real health hazard. And third, and perhaps most bizarre of all, the recipe he mentions involves using both Sodium bicarbonate and apple cider vinegar. Ok...so... you mix an acid and a base, effectively neutralizing them, then drink a mixture that is essentially inert. Makes absolutely NO sense.
My next issue with the book is that most of it was very clearly geared towards athletes. I'm not an athlete, in fact as I mentioned, I have some real health issues, and I think he missed a HUGE opportunity to really get into the real benefit of this kind of work, in the book. I think he should've had at least one full chapter dedicated to case examples of people with common health problems: chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, thyroid issues, etc. etc. and give us a lot more perspective on that side of things. To be fair, he does mention some examples in the book of those kinds of things, but I felt it was just hinting at a possible gold-mine of examples.
I was excited to take my BOLT score, but to my surprise, mine is actually pretty good, about 25. Probably because I've been aware of the importance of nose breathing and abdominal breathing for years. I was hoping it would be much lower, so I could see more potential benefit from the program. But here's the catch, with me: according to the author, a BOLT score of 20-30 means you probably won't be able to get much benefit without applying the techniques to some form of exercise. For my BOLT score, he mentions like 30 minutes of exercise per day, while applying the techniques. I can BARELY take a five minute walk without becoming either horribly fatigued or anxious. So 30 minutes is a complete pipe-dream. Now, that doesn't mean I'm not going to try the program (I've already started, in fact) and see if I can gain enough benefit to perhaps start exercising lightly. But for now, it'll have to be no exercise whatsoever. I'll keep at it for a few weeks and see if I'm noticing any objective benefit.
I do believe the info in this book has incredible value, but until it works for me, or someone I know, I'm giving it three stars. It does have a lot of good info on the science behind all of this, which is much appreciated, and not hard to follow. I especially liked the info on nitric oxide, as I've recently become aware of how important that particular gas is to our bodies. If I start to notice improvements, I will happily change my review. Oh, one more minor issue: I was surprised he didn't talk about the classic breathing into a paper bag, to help normalize CO2 levels. I'd be interested in knowing if this is a viable option, where people could maybe breath normally into the bag for a certain amount of time, rather than having to pay close attention to their breathing and monitoring it for 10 minutes, or whatnot.