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Proper Breathing Techniques

Updated: Mar 26

Did you know that proper breathing is a huge part of your workout? Many people have no clue they are doing it all wrong, or they can't quite pinpoint when it is you are supposed to inhale and exhale on a lift. Here is what you need to know:

Why Breathing Is Important

One big reason is oxygen. Not only do we need oxygen in our everyday lives, proper oxygen intake during exercise helps your organs and tissues get the proper supply that they need in order to function properly. It may not feel like much is happening or the difference isn’t that significant, but it really is. In fact, what happens to your body after your workout is something to think about and well worth each inhale and exhale - breathing correctly throughout your workout reduces the chance of your body needing to overcompensate - or hyperventilate - afterwards which gets your organs and tissues back to normal.

You know that muscle fatigue you feel during and after your workout session? The proper oxygen intake throughout your exercise routine actually helps slow that down because your muscles are getting the oxygen that they need. 

Why To Start Thinking About Your Breathing

When was the last time you really thought about how you breathe, especially during your workout? It is easy to forget, especially when you have five other things to think about (shoulders back, chest up, abs engaged) sound familiar? Your trainer may have reminded you of all of this a time or two (OK every time) and they reminded you to breathe. 

Being mindful of your breathing can actually help you be more mentally aware of how your body moves, meaning you will have a more positive experience when you perform and recover. It can also change your mindset on exercising overall - sounds like a no-brainer, right? Well, it’s just one of those things we easily forget about, so changing your mindset now will change everything from here on out. It’s never too late to pick up a habit again or start a new one! 

What Happens During Exercise 

In a nutshell, the harder you push, the more oxygen your body needs to get through those burpees. According to the National Library of Medicine, you probably inhale and exhale about 15 times per minute at rest, but during exercise your breathing will increase to about 40 to 60 times per minute to cope with the extra demand. In addition, your circulation also speeds up to bring more oxygen to your muscles. 

To summarize it all, keep breathing and be mindful of every inhale and exhale. Your trainer will help you if you can’t seem to get it right! Here is a quick summary of why breathing is so important: 

Proper Breathing Technique Can …

  • You want to inhale deeply through the nose and exhale fully through the mouth.

  • Inhale as you lower, exhale as you push, pull, press or lift. I always tell my clients to exhale on the hardest part of the exercise to help them to remember and get used to that same breathing pattern. So, the exhale should happen with the concentric part of an exercise (the resistance/effort) and inhale with the eccentric part (the yielding part).

  • When you inhale and exhale the right time during a strength workout and even while running, biking or hiking, you are getting oxygen to your muscles more efficiently meaning you can push harder and get better results.

Improper Breathing

  • Can lead to more fatigue or even dizziness if not done right.

  • Breathing correctly will also help slow down muscle fatigue by ensuring that your muscles receive the oxygen they need.

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