Waiting to Exhale

March 21, 2008 at 1:16 am Leave a comment

We all know we should include different forms of exercise in our fitness plans. Did you also know that you should breathe differently depending on the activity you’re doing? I had no idea that breathing was so important… or that it was so specific to the kind of physical exertion I was undertaking.

In The Ins and Outs of Breathing During Exercise, author Jay Blahnik describes the benefits of proper breathing.

  • It makes cardiovascular training more efficient.
  • It helps with power and stability during strength and endurance training.
  • It fosters relaxation during mind/body and flexibility training.

Blahnik goes on to relate the appropriate breathing techniques for Cardio, Strength and Flexibility workouts.

Cardio Training — The most important thing is to avoid shallow breathing during cardio training whenever possible. Shallow breathing is an indicator that you are either working too hard or have not established a good breathing pattern for the activity you are doing. Try taking stronger, deeper breaths during cardio training (without any feeling of holding your breath), and establish an inhale/exhale pattern that feels comfortable for you.”

Strength/Endurance Training — When doing strength or resistance training, such as weight lifting, you should generally exhale on the exertion (or most difficult part of the exercise) and inhale on the recovery (easiest part of the exercise).  For example, when doing a crunch, you should exhale when you lift your shoulders off the ground, and inhale when you lower your shoulders to the ground.”

Relaxation — When doing mind/body, stress reduction or flexibility training, such as yoga, tai chi and qigong, you should generally focus on deeper, diaphragmatic breathing that will not only help you execute the moves more deliberately, but will also help you relax and focus on the exercises while reducing stress.”

Breathing… just one more way to get the most of your workout!


Entry filed under: burn more calories, science, stretching. Tags: , .

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