Breathing properly is essential during exercise. And while most of us believe that there is little to learn about a function as natural as inhaling and exhaling, when you’re working out, there’s more to keep in mind than just breathing in or out.
Proper breathing is essential for delivering oxygen to our bodies, which in turn improves performance during a workout. Pacing your breath can help you exercise longer, prevent aches and pains and also releases tension. However, since most exercises are undertaken at different speeds, here’s a look at the best breathing techniques for different workouts:
Experts recommend what’s called the 2:2 rhythm — one left step, one right while breathing in and the same breathing out. Synchronising your breath to your pace will ease pressure on the diaphragm and reduce discomfort. Breathe through the mouth or nose, whatever suits you best.
To stabilise your core, and control your moves during a hard aerobic workout, it’s imperative that your muscles receive plenty of oxygen. Breathe from your diaphragm, not your chest. When you brace for an impact, take a deep breath and brace your core.
Exhaling is the way to go while strength training, as contracting the respiratory muscles will help brace the load during heavy lifts. While bench-pressing, for instance, exhale slowly while pressing the bar, then inhale on return.
Choosing the right breathing technique is integral to executing an asana. There are two basic principles to follow – expanding movements are made on the inhalation, contracting and twisting movements are made on exhalation. No matter how difficult the pose, make sure you don’t hold your breath.
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