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Karen (alias) tells me she can hardly climb up one flight of stairs

Karen (alias) tells me she can hardly climb up one flight of stairs. “I get tired, lose my breath, and my entire body becomes very heavy.” I invite her to come out to the stairwell. She’s a little frightened – my office is on the 28th floor – but she cooperates. I give her one instruction: no matter what you feel, no matter how high your heartbeat gets, inhale slowly and deeply through the nostrils, hold for a fraction of a second, and exhale slowly, also from the nostrils. We begin climbing and after four flights we reach the rooftop. Karen can’t believe she did it. She can feel her body, her heartbeat increased, but she’s not out of breath and can even speak: “How come no one ever told me about this trick with the breath? Did I have to come to a health and nutrition counselor to learn this?” Well, it’s not a coincidence. In Integrative Nutrition we’re treating physical activity and movement as food – primary food:

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