#1251 The Heart Rate Game

The Ultimate Family Fun

As you know, every morning I start my day with the usual routine.

Of course, my morning started the night before when I shut-down completely, practiced my digital sunset and enjoyed some Deep Love time with the family. Once I’m up, it’s meditation then quick movement then Deep Work, etc.

One thing we haven’t talked about that much is the fact that I start my meditation by slipping an oximeter on the ol’ pointer finger and seeing how low I can get my resting heart rate.

Side note: I originally got the oximeter (like these) on Patrick McKeown’s recommendation after he and I did some 1-on-1 work together years ago. We used it to measure how much I could DROP my oxygen saturation (not usually a good idea) to stimulate high-altitude training.

These days I use it for the quick oxygen saturation measure but mostly for the super easy, low-tech (aka no smartphone) way to measure my resting heart rate and train my ability to lower it.

So…

All that gets us one step closer to the point of Today’s +1.

Last night Emerson said to me, “Daddy. I want to practice lowering my heart rate.”

I immediately looked to Alexandra and we both mouthed a joyful, “WHAT?” to one another. Then I said, “Awesome, buddy. Let’s do it!!”

Then I handed him the oximeter. He took it and decided to go lay down in bed where he discovered he could most successfully get his resting heart rate the lowest.

Now…

I knew I’d need to share this in a +1 for a few reasons.

First, breathing properly is REALLY (!) REALLY (!!) REALLY (!!!) important. It’s a skill we should all master and one of the most important things we can teach our kids.

Second, I think this might be a fun way to teach our kids how to breathe well.

Enter: This +1.

So…

Back in the day, we talked about belly breathing and blowing up a balloon in your belly as a way to have fun teaching our kids to breathe in through their nose, down into their bellies and back out through their noses with a nice long exhale.

That’s Step 1 to play the Heart Rate Game I’m going to propose Today:

We need to teach our kids the super-basic mechanics of optimal breathing.

1. In through the nose. (ALWAYS)
2. Down into the belly.
3. Exhale slightly longer than inhale.

Repeat. All day. Every day.

Now…

Step 2: Add the oximeter, or some other easy way to measure our resting heart rate. (I like the oximeter b/c it’s low-tech and NOT a smartphone! 🤓)

Then…

Have your kids put it on and see if they can lower their heart rate by relaxing their minds and bodies and breathing in a nice, calm, relaxing way.

When he first did it, Emerson started at a 93. Perfect. Then he sat there and breathed and watched it dance all the way down to a 78 on the exhale, jumping up again on the inhale and coming back down in the exhale. Repeat.

I LOVE this exercise for so many reasons. Beyond the breathing practice via a fun game, we’re also teaching our kids how to flip the VERY important parasympathetic nervous system switch so they can cultivate Energized Tranquility while we’re cultivating their sense of agency at the same time. WIN WIN WIN.

So…

To show him how his body works, I had Emerson do some burpees to see how high he could his heart rate and then see how quickly he could recover.

He banged out 11 burpees.

He came back and put the oximeter back on.

New heart rate: 140.

“Cool!” he says.

“YES! Very cool!!” I say. “Now slow down your breathing and see how quickly you can lower it.”

E: “It’s hard to breathe slowly through my nose after doing the burpees.”
Me: “Yep. It is. That’s normal. How are you going to get good at it?”
E: “Practice.”
Me: “Exactly.”

A few breaths later and he’s watching his heart rate plummet with a big smile.

A few breaths after that and he’s approaching the 70s again.

Then his three-year-old sister, Eleanor, says she wants to do it and starts banging out some burpees.

And, THAT’s when I knew I needed to write this +1. 🤓

So…

If you feel so inspired, wanna play the Heart Rate Game?

Let’s master the fundamentals.

As one big family.

Together.

Today.

P.S. Just so you know, I got misty typing that last part, imagining our Families Optimizing together as I beamed you so much Love from our family to yours.

😍 😍 😍

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