By: Ahmed Eid
Have you ever noticed how you breathe when you feel relaxed?
The way you breathe affects your whole body. Breathing exercises are a good way to relax, reduce tension, and relieve stress.
What is the proper way to breathe while exercising?
Most people know some basic breathing techniques while doing exercises or working out, but our breath can do a lot more than help us lift an extra 10 pounds. It can affect the quality of our workouts, our energy levels, and even our ability to burn fat. So it’s important to get it right.
Breathing correctly is important while exercising for many reasons. It mainly helps with posture. The same muscles that help us with our posture are the ones that also help us respire. Good breath, good posture.
Breathe through the nose!
People tend to breathe too fast while working out, which is not the proper way to do it. Moreover, they may hold their breath, which is totally wrong and may lead to a disaster. Those who are “mouth breathers” have a slightly harder time breathing deeply. Drawing air in through the nasal slows our breath, yet allows us to draw in more oxygen than through the mouth. Also, air is filtered from the unwanted gases when it passes through the nose system, unlike when it passes through the mouth. Therefore, air should only pass through your nose in all your respiration process.
Breathe well, weigh less!
Breathing can also help us lose weight because proper breathing fights stress, and if our bodies are feeling stressed they go into survival mode (starvation mode or plateau)—slowing metabolism, storing fat because our body is releasing more cortisol, and preventing us from improving our cardiovascular capacities. If we are breathing right, we are relaxed and our bodies function better.
Is it that bad to hold my breath when I workout?
The answer is yes it is! We should be really careful with this because if you hold it for too long, you may end up passing out. There is actually a maneuver called the Valsalva maneuver which occurs when a person tries to exhale forcibly with a closed windpipe so that no air exits through the mouth and nose. This maneuver impedes the return of venous blood to the heart, and can also increase blood pressure. So it should be avoided for obvious reasons.
All in all, you should put improving your breathing into consideration. Spend some time practicing different breathing control and management techniques in order to fix it, and start to breathe properly!