Exercising is often hard enough on its own, but you make it even harder on yourself if you're not practising good breathing techniques while you're working out. Proper breathing delivers the right amount of oxygen so you can exercise longer with less effort. Fitness blog The Greatist breaks down how to do it for several popular exercises.
Photo by Tony Alter.
Depending on the intensity of a workout, you should have a different breathing technique. For running, the Greatist suggests two different techniques to try:
While there's no golden rule, many runners find it most comfortable to take one breath for every two foot strikes, says Alison McConnell, a breathing expert and author of Breathe Strong Perform Better. This means taking two steps (one left, one right) while breathing in, and two steps while breathing out - also known as the 2:2 rhythm.
That's great for running, but it's a totally different approach when you're strength training:
Using the bench press as an example, exhale slowly and continuously while pressing the bar, then inhale at the top of the life or on the return. Just remember that once that barbell is pressed, the weight doesn't vanish, McConnell explains, so be sure to keep the core engaged to protect the spine, similar to preparing for impact during contact sports.
The lesson is that proper breathing is just as important as proper technique. Doing it wrong can lead to decreased performance and side stitches. Hit up The Greatist for more information on the exercises above as well as breathing techniques for high-intensity sports and yoga.
How to Breathe for Every Type of Exercise [The Greatist]