Breathing Properly During Exercise

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It is so important to breath properly during exercise. It may seem silly to think that some people need tips on how to breath, but you’d be surprised to know how often trainers need to remind their clients to breath during a lift, and how many cardio enthusiasts have trouble achieving a proper inhale/exhale cycle.

People struggle with breathing too quickly or too slowly, exhaling at the wrong time, holding their breath and more. The wrong techniques can affect your overall workout and how well you perform.

How does it work?

When you inhale, you are taking in oxygen. That oxygen gets transported through your blood cells. When you exhale, you are ridding your body of carbon dioxide. While you are exercising, your body needs to take in more oxygen and needs to get rid of more carbon dioxide than it does when you are at rest. While you breathe during your workout, you are oxygenating your muscles and supplying them with nutrient-rich blood.

Breathing while lifting weights

Just as breathing is essential in everyday life, form is vital during a workout. Proper form while lifting weights enables your body to perform controlled inhalations and exhalations while you exert great force. If you are performing weighted squats, for example, take a deep breath as you are bending your knees to the lowest point, and exhale as you stand back up in order to grant your body as much power as possible at the most difficult part of the lift. You should always exhale when exerting force.

Never hold your breath while lifting weights. It is very common for beginners to forget to breathe mid-lift as they focus on balancing and carrying the weight. This can affect oxygen delivery to the brain and result in dizziness, fatigue, and other complications. Proper breathing will help you, improper (or no) breathing will hurt you.

Cardio breathing

Your breaths during cardio activities should be slow and deep. Many runners struggle to determine whether they are more comfortable breathing in through their nose or their mouth. While it is entirely preference-based, many find that mouth breathing provides the most amount of oxygen. Others say that nose breathing takes more focus and control, which can help you achieve strong and deep breaths.

Completely fill your stomach with air on each inhale, and slowly release your breath at a steady in-and-out pace. Be sure to keep your abdomen relaxed because if you are too tight, you may limit the extent to which you can inhale.

Practice with yoga

If you don’t already do yoga and you are battling your breathing technique, try it! This form of exercise is perfect for mastering your inhale/exhale pattern and can help you establish your rhythm and depth.

While performing yoga, take in slow, diaphragmatic breaths – this allows for deep, full breaths and better oxygen delivery. This will help with more intense exercises as well. Practice filling your stomach completely with air and fully exhaling before you inhale again. This goes hand-in-hand with breathing while stretching, as it helps your body return to a resting state.

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