Breathing is something we do automatically, no thought required, it’s one less thing to worry about while exercising…well actually you should think about your breathing when training. While breathing is something our body does on it’s own when working out there are breathing techniques that will improve your workout and safeguard your health.
- Avoiding getting dizzy or experience headaches while you work out
- Burn more fat
- No more hyper ventilating during strenuous exercise
- Improve your performance
During cardio exercise you want to do “belly” or diaphragmatic breathing.
To do it, just breathe in deeply enough so your belly (not your chest) rises, then falls as you exhale. This breathing keeps your blood pressure low and allows for better oxygen delivery to your muscles.
While running for example a 3:2 ratio of inhalations to exhalations is recommended, this means that you need to inhale for 3 seconds and exhale for 2 seconds in order to get oxygen to all your muscles and clear your body of carbon dioxide with each breath. It’s not that difficult, but you will need to be conscience of your breathing until you get used to this pattern. Towards the end of your run as you grow more fatigued this ration will likely change to 2:1.
Weight-bearing exercise increases your muscles’ need for oxygen, which makes you breathe faster and shallower.
In weightlifting, this is known as the valsalva maneuver. It limits oxygen delivery to the muscles and brain, which can cause dizziness, fainting and other serious complications. You should exhale as you’re doing the hardest work, and inhale as you’re coming back to your starting position. For example, exhale while performing the crunch forward part of a sit-up and inhale when you lower back down to the starting position.
When stretching you’ll need to breath even more slowly and deeply than when doing cardio. This keeps the blood pressure from rising and makes sure enough blood is flowing to the muscles that need it. It also helps flush toxins like carbon dioxide and lactic acid.
Get into the practice of using proper breathing techniques and improve your overall workout.