Breathing is a process very similar to burning. Just as burning uses oxygen, so does breathing.
A burning candle produces heat because of the oxidation reaction which takes place. We have a saying with variations on: `Burning the candle at both ends.’. This could apply to people who have been out all night partying instead of working. It could also mean a person who has been working very hard and is making himself ill with all the extra work.
We breathe oxygen – and oxygen oxidises the food we eat – and the reaction gives us energy.
Carbohydrates contain carbon and hydrogen and also oxygen. This becomes oxidised to carbon dioxide and water. So we breathe these out. We also breathe out un-reactive gases and excess oxygen.
So when we tell our eleven plus child to take deep breaths in a stressful situation we are hoping that that lots of oxygen fizzes around the blood stream and supplies energy.
We know that lots of records were broken when the Olympics were held in Mexico City back in 1968. The thin air made it easier to run and jump. The altitude in Mexico City was around 7 400 feet. At a high altitude the body needs to take in more air – and more oxygen.
Would any one like me to organise an eleven plus trip to Mexico City over the approaching October school holidays? Rest assured the children would not be allowed to burn the candle at both ends. The children would be taught good breathing techniques. They should learn a lot too – and the trip would allow great pre examination conditioning.
I have always liked the idea of Mexico City!