We all know that exercise is important for health, but did you know how important it is to make sure you’re breathing correctly while you’re working out? Not only do you need to get your body moving and your blood pumping, but depending on what kind of exercise you’re doing, you’ll need to optimize your breathing technique, too! Whether you want to exercise longer, harder, or faster, you can start with a few basic breathing techniques to improve. Read on to learn more about what it takes to get the fresh air your body needs while you’re sweating it out on your treadmill or elliptical trainer.
- 1. Establish a rhythm. Make sure your breathing is consistent. Running is a high-impact form of exercise, so coordinating your inhaling and exhaling with your footfalls can help you maintain a more stable form and prevent injury. Timing your breaths so that your diaphragm is relaxed when you experience the greatest impact (foot hits the ground) will help you achieve this.
- 2. Breathe from your belly. Many fitness experts agree that maximizing your diaphragm’s capacity will help you take in more air (and therefore more oxygen) when you breathe, providing your muscles with more of the oxygen they need to function. Also, many of the core muscles associated with belly breathing are both larger and stronger than the smaller muscles you’d use when breathing from your chest. Getting in the habit of belly breathing may take some training, which you can do in the comfort of your bed: just lie down on your back and take deep breaths through both your nose and mouth, focusing on the ‘up and out’ movement of your belly when you breathe in and the ‘lowering’ when you exhale.
- 3. If you have breathing difficulties due to injury or a health issue, always, always consult with a medical professional to make sure you won’t make it worse or hurt yourself when you exercise. When in doubt, ask your doctor!
So there you have it. How will you make the most of every inhalation when you work out? At Smooth Fitness, we want to help you get the most out of your home exercise and your fitness equipment, so we hope you’ll find these tips useful.