#1227 The Greatest Predictor of Longevity

Genetics? Diet? Exercise? Nope… Try: Lung Capacity!

I recently read a book called Breath by James Nestor. It’s all about “The New Science of a Lost Art.” (Thanks for the rec, Zac!)

James tells us that breath is the “missing pillar in health.”

In fact, he says: “No matter what we eat, how much we exercise, how resilient our genes are, how skinny or young or wise we are—none of it will matter unless we’re breathing correctly. That’s what these researchers discovered. The missing pillar in health is breath. It all starts here.”

👆 YES!

Which is why we’ve included Breathing as a core fundamental for years—right there with Eating, Moving, and Sleeping.

(See Breathing 101 and our Notes on Breathe, Perfect Breathing, The Healing Power of the Breath, Breathe In Breathe Out, and Anxiety Free.)

One more time: How we BREATHE is FUNDAMENTAL to our well-being.

We can survive for weeks without food. Days without water. Minutes without breath.


Yes, of course, we “should” be able to breathe right without being taught how to do so. Same goes for Eating and Moving and Sleeping.

Our modern society has given us an array of ineffably awesome advantages. Mastery of the fundamentals is not one of them. (Laughing.)


We’ve talked about all that before.


Get this.

Did you know that lung capacity is one of the greatest predictors of longevity?


And, good news: It can be developed via proper breathing.

James tells us: “More recently, science has begun testing what the ancient Tibetans understood intuitively. In the 1980s, researchers with the Framingham Study, a 70-year longitudinal research program focused on heart disease, attempted to find out if lung size really did correlate to longevity. They gathered two decades of data from 5,200 subjects, crunched the numbers, and discovered that the greatest indicator of life span wasn’t genetics, diet or the amount of daily exercise, as many had suspected. It was lung capacity.

The smaller and less efficient lungs became, the quicker subjects got sick and died. The cause of deterioration didn’t matter. Smaller meant shorter. But larger lungs equaled longer lives.

Our ability to breathe full breaths was, according to the researchers, ‘literally a measure of living capacity.’”

That’s Today’s +1.

Proper breathing. It does a mind-body-soul good.

Let’s take a nice, deep, relaxing breath now.

Remember our 1-2-3:

1. In through your nose.
2. Down into your belly.
3. Exhale slightly longer than inhale.



All day. And night.


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