Using your breath to optimise your workout - Emily Skye

Using your breath to optimise your workout

Using your breath to optimise your workout

When looking to optimise your workout and enhance your performance, you normally look to improve your posture, increase resistance or distance, and learn new techniques and practices. How you breathe probably doesn’t even enter your mind, I mean, you have been doing it 24/7, at around 17,000 breaths per day, for your whole life. So what could you possibly need to learn?

The truth is, that many people breathe incorrectly during exercise, which can not only impact on their ability to get the most out of each exercise, it can actually have a number of adverse consequences. That way in which you breath plays a very important role in not only your ability to perform specific exercises, but also in protecting your body.

So here are some basic tips to breathing correctly during exercise:

  • Abdominal Breathing - This is where most people go wrong. When you feel out of breath, try not to allow your breath to become shallow from your chest. Though it might feel as though breathing more rapidly from this place is helping you get more oxygen, it is actually reducing the efficiency of your lungs. Relax your belly and allow each breath to engage your diaphragm and flow from your belly, instead of just your chest.
  • Breathe Through Your Nose - Though sucking in more air from your mouth might feel as though you are getting more oxygen, you are actually missing out on some of the important benefits nasal breathing provides. Your nasal cavity contains nitric oxide, a beneficial gas that helps ward off bacteria as well as maintain homoeostasis. Nasal breathing encourages the activation of your diaphragm and proper abdominal breathing.
  • Don’t Over Breathe - Another common bad habit, when it comes to breathing during exercise, is to overbreadth. Sure, when you run long distance, or cycle really hard, you are going to get out of breath, however, when you are practising resistance training it is important to try and keep your breath as relaxed and normal as possible. Over breathing disturbs the oxygen to carbon dioxide balance in your blood. This can cause hyperventilation or even exercise-induced asthma.
  • Don’t Hold Your Breath - Though holding your breath during a lift, or during core exercises might happen ‘naturally’, it is important to break this habit and make sure you keep your breath continual. If you need help, use your breath as part of the movement, counting it in and out as you complete each rep or practice.
  • Use The Right Kind Of Breathing - When practicing resistance training the basic rule is: ‘Exhale on exertion and inhale on relaxation/recovery’. So basically breathing out for the challenging part and breathing in as you relax back. With cardio the key is to breathe through your nose and keep your breath as relaxed as possible, sure you will huff and puff as you warm yourself up, but by resisting breathing through your mouth and trying to allow the breath to flow from your abdomen, you will get the most out of your training time.

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