While breathing is one of the most natural, automatic processes in the body, paying attention to your breath during a workout can help make sure you’re breathing as efficiently and effectively as possible.
The most important technique for breathing during exercise is to use the muscle that extends across the bottom of the chest cavity (the diaphragm). Breathing from the diaphragm instead of the chest (where you breathe when you are not exercising) will allow you to get deep, full breaths that fill your lungs with air and oxygen that your body needs for exercise.
To know if you are breathing properly from the diaphragm, place your hands on your lower ribs. As you breathe in, you will feel your ribs rise. As you breathe out, you will feel your ribs fall.
Benefits of breathing properly during exercise:
- Exercise more comfortably, safely and for longer periods.
- Prevent injuries such as hernias, spikes in blood pressure and back pain.
- Increase blood flow throughout the body.
- Increase your ability to relax.
- Help you let go of distractions and stay focused on exercise.
Tips for breathing properly during exercise:
- Relax your muscles and mind.
- Be aware of your posture and body as you warm up.
- Inhale/exhale at even intervals when engaging in cardio exercises.
- Exhale when you lift weights and inhale as you relax into starting position.
- Don’t hold your breath.
- Keep a rhythm.
- Slow your exercise pace if you can’t catch your breath.
- Focus on maintaining slow, even and deep breaths.
- Add Yoga to your workout routine to learn mindful breathing techniques.
Learning how to breathe properly can make exercise easier, more enjoyable and even better for your health. And if you continue exercising regularly, you will develop breathing patterns that are second nature to your activity!