Create

How to control breathing while exercising: Basics and proper technique

Focus on your breathing for a healthier life (Image via Unsplash/Gabin Vallet)
Focus on your breathing for a healthier life (Image via Unsplash/Gabin Vallet)

Everyone knows how to breathe. We've been breathing since we were born. We can even do it in our sleep. Oxygen supports many processes within our body, which is what makes it so important to breathe. It could be considered fuel for our bodies.

The more we move, the more oxygen our body requires to fuel these movements, which is why the rate of our breathing increases the more we move our bodies around.

A strong breathing technique will aid all exercises (Image via Pexels/Kevin Valerio)
A strong breathing technique will aid all exercises (Image via Pexels/Kevin Valerio)

Many individuals who do not implement proper breathing techniques while working out are not likely to see improvements in their performance or strength. Moreover, it is common to experience dizziness or nausea while working out without the correct breathing patterns.

During exercise, the density of hydrogen ions and carbon dioxide, or CO2, in the bloodstream increases. This results in a need for more oxygen intake to drive out the CO2. With sufficient oxygen in the body, pyruvate, as a result of exercise, is further broken down and creates more adenosine triphosphate, or ATP - the body’s primary source of fuel.

Without oxygen delivered to the body on time, pyruvate is converted to lactate, which accumulates in the muscle tissue and causes the burning cramps we all dislike.

CO2 needs to be ejected systematically (Image via Pexels/Kindel Media)
CO2 needs to be ejected systematically (Image via Pexels/Kindel Media)

This is why carbon dioxide needs to be removed before it accumulates in the body.


Focus on improving your breathing technique during exercise

The standard rule is to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Another rule of thumb is to inhale upon relaxation and exhale on exertion. This is largely due to the need to drive out carbon dioxide while ensuring there is enough oxygen to replace it.

The exhalation keeps the core stable and provides more power to lift. If you face the need to hold your breath, it would be a good idea to stop. This is an indicator that the load may be too heavy.

For example, during a squat, if you inhale as you lower your body into the squat position and exhale quickly while straightening back up, you’ll find it easier to exert power.

youtube-cover

While performing cardio-centric activities such as running, biking, or swimming, it’s important to establish a consistent breathing pattern. This means more even breathing. These activities run at a more steady pace, facilitating equal amounts of CO2 displacement and replenishment with O2.

If you reach the point of severe breathlessness or dizziness, it’s probably because of too much CO2 in the body. It’s a good idea to pause for a few minutes and allow your body to replenish itself.

Breathing technique is crucial for a successful exercise session (Image via Unsplash/Candra Winata)
Breathing technique is crucial for a successful exercise session (Image via Unsplash/Candra Winata)

Due to consistent fueling with oxygen, these activities are also called aerobic exercises. The body essentially uses O2 to convert other stored substrates into ATP.

While performing low-intensity mobility exercises such as yoga and pilates, more profound, longer breaths work more effectively to stretch the muscles out. Elongated breathing patterns will help release tension stored in the muscles and increase the range of motion in the areas being worked on.

The right techniques during exercise provide a whole array of other benefits as well. They can help lower blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Plus, there’s less room for injury.


Practice is key (Image via Unsplash/Katerina Jerabkova)
Practice is key (Image via Unsplash/Katerina Jerabkova)

Now that we’ve given you the how-to on breathing during different forms of exercise, the best time to practice them is during exercise itself. On a day where you perform strength, cardio, and mobility work, you’d be getting in practice of all three techniques.

So make it a point to watch your breathing during exercises. You should be seeing significant changes in performance with regular practice.


Disclaimer: This article reflects the opinions of the writer.

Poll : Do you focus on breathwork?

I will now.

Always have.

51 votes

Quick Links

Edited by Sandeep Banerjee
Be the first one to comment