Every Breath You Take Does Count When Exercising…

breathingBreathing is something that most of us think little if anything about.

The sad thing is most people are not breathing correctly…or to full capacity and would benefit from learning to breathe correctly.

When breathing, upon inhaling, we breathe in oxygen that gets transported to our blood cells while exhaling gets rid of gases and toxins like carbon dioxide. Breathing correctly helps to optimize oxygenation to the internal organs and muscles which in turn improves overall health and fitness.

There are two ways we breathe, through the nose or through the mouth and both ways are dramatically different in terms of how deep the breath is and to the physical effects it produces.

Nose breathing is the optimal way to breathe and provides many benefits like added endurance and post energy levels, optimizing performance and helping us to metabolize fat and lose weight easier. Lung elasticity also depends on nasal resistance which only occurs when breathing through the nose (because of the small diameter of the nasal passages.)

Unfortunately many people “over-breath” and put their bodies in a state of chronic hyperventilation. This type of breathing has very adverse consequences when exercising as does mouth breathing which can elevate heart rate and blood pressure and possibly lead to dizziness and fatigue.

Most people breathe in through the top of the chest rather than breathing deeply through the belly using the diaphragm. This kind of breathing results in weak diaphragms and a weak diaphragm fatigues easily during exercise and cheats the muscles out of optimum blood flow.

Breathing techniques is something anyone can improve on and benefit from. By simply focusing on your “basic awareness” a few times a day and putting your full attention on how you are breathing for one or two minutes at a time you’ll get acquainted with your breathing habits and that’s the first step to change. Put aside your short breaths and focus on deep breathing. Before long your consistent efforts will pay off and you will find that deep breathing comes more naturally.

Proper breathing is especially beneficial when working out. It helps you exercise longer and with less effort and is something you should be focused on, thinking about and controlling during your workouts if you want peak performance.

However, one size does not fit all when it comes to exercise and breathing methods. Depending on what type of exercise you are performing you will adopt your breathing somewhat.

During cardio such as running, Budd Coates, M.S. (author of Running on Air: The Revolutionary Way to Run Better by Breathing Smarter) suggests that inhaling for three seconds and exhaling for two is best as opposed to breathing evenly the whole time.

Stretching requires you to focus on deep breathing because you are trying to get your blood flowing loosen up and relax your muscles to get a better stretch.

Resistance training, weight lifting or any exercise that require a push, lift or pull you requires you to inhale on the less demanding phase of the exercise and exhaling on the more strenuous phase of the exercise. In other words, make sure to exhale on exertion.

Finding the right exercise routine to achieve your fitness goals is ultimately important but without including proper breathing…everything will be harder including getting the results you are after.

Breathing, when done right,  drastically improves your running/cardio, resistance training, yoga or any other physically active sport you are participating in.

Most people today who exercise regularly, and who make conscious choices about the quality of the food they eat, are not getting anywhere near the degree of benefits from their actions that they could be getting. If you are one of those, I can help with my new “Minimalist Exercise and Nutrition” program.

Speak Your Mind