How Breathing Can Transform How You Exercise

I know it seems straightforward but it is very important to breath while you exercise. Most people who exercise regularly realize that holding your breath during a workout is counterproductive, but don’t know that coordinating your breathing with each movement is just as important. To grasp the concept of breathing during exercise, we first have to understand the role oxygen plays in our body. When an activity is performed at a steady rate where someone has enough air to breath while exercising, it is usually called “aerobic exercise”; walking or even jogging at slower speeds are good examples. Activities such as sprinting or quickly paced weight training routines, where you are still breathing but there is not enough air to satisfy your body’s demands, is called “anaerobic exercise”; this is usually characterized by a burning sensation in your muscles called “lactic acid”. Proper breathing during aerobic and anaerobic activities not only makes you feel better, but can transform how you exercise.

Endurance – For anyone who has ever held their breath while doing vigorous activity, soon realizes that it is much easier if they breath properly. Endurance or the ability to finish a workout are tied to breathing properly, which is why our muscles need oxygen to convert fuel into energy. The first stage of breathing properly is being relaxed which usually starts in your facial muscles. During exercise when someone is relaxed and breathing properly it can delay the onset of fatigue.

Makes exercise less painful – Particularly during anaerobic exercise when there isn’t enough oxygen to satisfy your bodies demands, lactic acid is a result of a lack of air. Breathing out through the most difficult parts of the exercise and breathing in through the easier parts can delay the onset of lactic acid which can make the activity less painful. In weight training scenarios, coordinating your breathing is particular important because breathing at the proper times reflects on how well you are able to lift.

You recover faster after workouts – Since exercise can deplete the body of its energy and cause muscle soreness, proper breathing can help you recover faster. The reason why many high level athletes allow their body to “cool down” post workout, is it provides more oxygen which encourages faster healing. A good cool down is performing an aerobic activity such as walking or jogging where you are going slow enough to speak. While most people are just focused on finishing a workout, a good cool down coupled with stretching can help you recover faster.

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Eric Daw

Eric Daw is an active aging specialist and the owner of Omni Fitt. Omni Fitt is dedicated to the wellbeing, health and quality of life of people aged 65 and over. Eric motivates and empowers the older adult population to take responsibility for their independence, health and fitness through motivating and positive coaching experiences.