A happier, healthier you


A happier, healthier you

How to Breathe For a Better Workout

by Yes Health

Do you ever feel like you can’t catch your breath during a run? Or do you get tired sooner and more easily than you’d like in your spin class? If so, you might want to take a closer look at your breath. 

Most of the time our breathing is automatic. But when we exercise, our brain tracks the extra carbon dioxide and lactic acid that builds up in our blood and sends a message to our respiratory system to increase the speed and depth of our breaths. This helps deliver additional oxygen to our muscles so we can push ourselves harder, longer without fatiguing.


How to Breathe: 4 Tips to Breathe New Energy Into Your Workouts

When we’re on a run or doing laps in a pool, a measured breathing pattern ensures our working muscles get the oxygen they need to keep contracting. Proper breathing is also central to anaerobic forms of exercise, such as weightlifting and high intensity interval training. Forms of movement like yoga use the breath to foster mind-body connection throughout the practice.

Related Content: Simple Meditation Exercises: Breathe Your Way to Better Health

  1. Go deep: Practice filling your entire diaphragm with breath while you train. Allow the inhalation to push your belly out and expand your rib cage as opposed to lifting your shoulders. Most of the time we only use about a third of our lungs expanding capacity. That’s a lot of oxygen we’re missing out on!
  2. Match steps to breath: For a moderate walking pace, your breathing ratio should be approximately one inhale for every two to three steps and an exhale for every three to four steps. Try counting at first and you’ll quickly fall into a natural rhythm. 
  3. Use your nose: There’s a proverb that says, “The nose is for breathing. The mouth is for eating.” Drawing air in through our nose slows our breath, filters impurities from the air (and warms the air in cold weather) and allows us to draw in more oxygen than we would through our mouth. 
  4. Watch your timing: As a general rule, inhale on the less strenuous phase of the exercise and exhale on the more demanding phase. Let's consider a bicep curl as an example. You'll exhale as you curl up, and exhale as you extend the arm back down. Whenever lifting anything heavy, try making a loud “s” sound to help tighten your core to protect your back muscles. This applies equally to doing side bends or deadlifting 300 pounds. 

Final Thoughts

Learning to breathe properly is essential for a great workout, and overall health and wellness. Don't get discouraged if it doesn't come naturally right away. Breathing in daily life and during workouts is a practice, so be patient with yourself, close your eyes, and breathe! 


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