How to Breathe Better While Training to Get Better & Faster Results?
Is there anything more natural than breathing? And yet it is breathing, especially during physical activity, that gets neglected the most.
Meanwhile, you have probably noticed more than once that you lose your breath during exercise. It happens especially when you perform an activity of an endurance, aerobic character, such as running. The beginning of a workout is the most difficult, because it is only around the 15th minute that your physiology helps your body to adapt to the effort by cleverly "switching" the processes of energy acquisition and processing. As a result, the longer you perform a given activity, the easier breathing becomes.
However, it is important that you use this natural breathing process to your advantage. Just like everything you do, breathing is one of the many factors that can both help and hurt you in building health, strength, or immunity. Notice that with literally just a few small modifications and being mindful, you can make movement not only many times more effective, but also more enjoyable! All this is possible thanks to the optimization of the effort itself, better oxygenation of cells or faster post-workout recovery.
So how should you breathe during physical activity in order to properly oxygenate the cells and accelerate the effects of exercise?
The answer, as it often happens, is - It depends.
In this case, it depends mainly on the type of exercise. So let's divide movement into several categories.
Running is one of the more aerobically demanding sports. If you're untrained, you'll probably find yourself out of breath right from the start. You'll feel like your lungs are stabbing a million needles. But don't worry, this is just an impression. It will get easier with time! But especially at the beginning of your running adventure, learning to breathe properly will be crucial for you. A good habit will not only make you run longer, but also you will not get discouraged after a few kilometers. I know that you want to breathe with your mouth wide open, you grab the air thinking that this will help you get more oxygen. But nothing more wrong! Try something completely different - try running your first distance without opening your mouth and breathe through your nose. Inhale and exhale through your nose, not too deep, but not too shallow either. If you feel that you are running out of air, just slow down, move to walking. This means that the effort is beyond your strength and you should calm down. Then return to running while breathing through your nose again. Try so-called belly breathing.
STATIC EXERCISES (Pilates, yoga, etc.)
Here, in turn, we have a completely different type of activity. The focus is on relaxation and breathing. How about giving slow breathing a chance? Practice mindfulness. Focus on each tense muscle, counting to four, inhale through your nose and exhale the same way. You can also exhale with your mouth if you prefer. Exhaling with your mouth here gives the sensation of even deeper relaxation. I also recommend taking breaks between inhalation and exhalation to give your body a chance to produce nitric oxide, which is responsible for oxygenation.
As with running, refrain from the habit and desire to take quick breaths by mouth. Breathe through your nose, and if you can't handle it anymore, slow down your workout or even pause for a while until your breathing rhythm returns to normal. Give yourself time. You won't stop fat burning, but you'll definitely improve cellular oxygenation.
The situation gets a bit more complicated when it comes to strength training. You can train with light weights, let's say for reduction (high number of repetitions, low load), but you can also train with heavy weights (you build strength). These are two completely different types of activity, stimulating different processes in your body.
And now - if you train lighter, I recommend you stop the tendency to hold your breath. It seems natural, it stabilizes the posture so to speak. However, remember that holding your breath can lead not only to painful muscle contraction, but also to fainting. Especially if you train for a long time, doing long series. It is recommended here to use the technique of releasing air when the muscle is in the greatest tension, e.g. for biceps exercises: while lifting a dumbbell, exhale, while lowering - inhale.
An alternative is to use the so-called Valsalva maneuver. The Valsalva maneuver (the name comes from an Italian doctor) consists in voluntary closing of the air outlet during forced expiration. Closing the airway involves covering the nose and mouth or causing the glottis to close. The purpose of the maneuver is to produce an increase in both chest and abdominal pressure. Often during normal daytime activities of lifting a heavy object, we perform this maneuver unconsciously.
With proper breathing habits, not only will your aerobic capacity improve, but so will your overall endurance.