While everyone is occupied with motivating themselves to hit the gym or yoga studio, focusing on the exercising itself, the nutritional intake, and choosing the ideal activewear or comfy leggings in order to perfect their workout routine, there is one aspect that shouldn't be underestimated — To breathe properly during a workout.
Thinking about the whole philosophy of breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth during an exercise isn’t that simple, and there are so many people who hold their breath when they work out.
Whether the goal is running, cycling, lifting, or swimming, you need to think about and control your breath during your workout for peak performance. Improving your breathing could help to decrease stress, lower blood pressure, improve athletic performance, and maybe even increase brain size.
However, one method does not fit all workouts. So read on to discover expert tips on how to breathe during your favorite workouts:
Continuous breathing during running, running, cycling, or any other cardiovascular exercise will help you to increase nitric oxide, an important gas that relaxes the arteries and keeps the blood flow that you need to sustain your rhythmic activity.
The deeper you breath the better, as many researches showed that the greatest running impact occurs when you try to inhale for three seconds and then exhale for two. It’s most preferable to breath diaphragmatic during your cardio, as it will allow deeper, fuller breaths and better oxygen delivery during more intense workout, therefore health benefits of aerobic exercises more prominent.
While finding the ideal breathing pattern that allows you deeper breaths is the key when doing cardio, weight lifting requires a different approach. The best breathing techniques when you are hitting heavy weights is to inhale on the less strenuous phase of the exercise, hold your breath for just a short second, and then exhale on the more demanding phase of the exercise. This way you will tighten your core muscles and maintain proper form.
Breathing in Pilates, while performing the prescribed exercise might be hard enough as it is. Focusing too much on the breath can make you forget the building blocks of Pilates, like keeping correct spinal position and Tzone contraction, and safety in general. That’s why breathing will only help your mind-body exercises if you are in the right position and the right muscles are turned on.
Pilates usually involves lateral or ribcage breathing, which involves inhaling deeply through the nose, expanding the lungs with the abdominal engaged, and without allowing the belly to rise. On the exhale you should push all of that air out of your mouth slowly, but forcefully.
Like in Pilates, in yoga breathing is crucial for improved performance. Breathe slow through the nose, inhale for 4-5 heartbeats, pause slightly, and then exhale for an equal length of time. The back of the throat constricts slightly to allow the air to create an audible sound. This audible breath will help your mind stay focused on the rhythm and sound when poses get difficult, making sure you stay in the moment while practicing your yoga.
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Relax and loosen it up — it’s stretching time! Deeply inhaling will give you a better stretch, while the exhaling will follow naturally. Proper breathing during stretches will also allow you to increase your flexibility and relax so you can return to a resting state.
Skip holding your breath during stretching though, and don’t take short and shallow breaths. Inhaling through the nose with deep, relaxed diaphragmatic breaths followed by exhaling through the mouth are ideal when stretching.
There is a lot more to proper breathing than just going with the flow. Just have these breathing techniques, and you will notice your workouts improve dramatically. When all else fails, just breathe!
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