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People tend to ask a lot of questions on how a fitness training program works, what the correct postures are, and whether the workout is appropriate for them or not. Another common question that most first timers ask is how to breathe when exercising.

You’re probably scoffing at this last question and thinking, “How can anyone not know how to breathe?” Breathing does happen naturally just like when you’re blinking your eyes but should you just let it happen on its own when working out? If you’re going to ask fitness coaches and trainers, you’ll learn that they are the ones who keep reminding their students or clients to watch how they breathe since it’s either they’re breathing too fast or too shallow or they are exhaling and inhaling at the wrong time. Although breathing incorrectly won’t ruin your workout, it can affect your performance as well as the connection of your mind and body to one another.


Breathing Right

Since breathing matters a lot when working out, what is the right breathing technique to use? Breathing patterns depend on the workout you’re going to do. Here are a few types of exercises that you can do and how to breathe right for each of them.

Cardio exercises

According to Marta Montenegro, an exercise physiologist, continuously breathing during cardio workouts raises the nitric oxide in the body which helps make the arteries relax and blood to flow freely to keep your rhythm. Try inhaling for three seconds then exhale for two. This may take some practice but once you master it, you’ll find that you’re performing cardio exercises better.


Strength training

Just like cardio exercises, your body will require plenty of oxygen when performing strength training exercises. However, there are some who have the tendency to hold their breath when lifting heavy weights. This is called the valsava maneuver and it hinders the amount of oxygen that travels to the brain which in turn causes a spike in blood pressure, dizziness, and fainting. It is important that you’re constantly breathing during strength training. Try practicing inhaling during the easy phase of your workout then exhale during the harder part.


Montenegro suggests that when doing stretching workouts inhale as much as possible. This will help in relaxing your muscles so you can stretch your muscles without pulling any muscle in the process.


You congratulate yourself for finishing a tough exercise but then find yourself breathing rapidly. This happens when your body is starved for oxygen. The best way to avoid this is to do diaphragmatic breathing in between sets. In this exercise, you are sending oxygen not just to your lungs but your muscles as well which allows you to do the next exercise easily. What you should do during the diaphragmatic exercise is to concentrate on emptying and filling your abdomen with each breath instead of making your chest rise and fall with every inhale and exhale.

Paying attention to your breathing will be difficult at first but with constant practice, you’ll get the hang of it in no time. Just remember, the better your breathing technique is the better workout you’re going to get.



Photo credit to:precisionfitpb

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How to Breathe Right when Exercising