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.
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.
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!