Proper Breathing Techniques While Exercising

Apr 24, 2014

Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy

by Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy

Have you ever experienced headaches, cramps, or shortness of breath while exercising? Chances are you’re breathing incorrectly. Whether completing that extra mile while running, holding your downward dog pose in yoga, or getting that last rep in while lifting, experts at your nearest Chandler physical therapy center have the right breathing techniques for you.
Simply breathing in and out will not do the trick; you must control, time, and practice your breathing to ensure a healthy and efficient workout. Various exercises require specific types of breathing techniques and we will review three of the more popular workouts out there to get you on the right path to a successful workout. Additionally, you can meet with a trusted physical therapist to discuss proper breathing techniques for whatever sport you’re interested in. However, we will examine these techniques for more popular sports which are: running, strength training, and yoga.
Various studies have been performed to compare whether breathing through your nose or mouth is superior to the other. Your Chandler physical therapy specialists, as well other professionals, will tell you that breathing through your mouth is the better method while running. This is due to the fact that your mouth is larger than your nostrils and can provide you with more oxygen. Additionally, keeping your mouth open allows you to relax your face, making it easier to take in deep breaths. Now comes the most important part, breathing in patterns. Diaphragmatic strength is crucial to a successful run and can be increased by creating a rhythm while you run. Experts have shown that setting up a breathing pattern in relation to your footsteps, such as a 2-2 pattern, where you breathe in while stepping left, right; breathe out while stepping right,left is key to a productive run. This can be difficult at first, but practicing while walking or jogging will allow you build upon this skill.
Strength Training:
Many are familiar with the phrase, “no pain, no gain.” This is common misconception weight lifters and other athletes have and can lead to severe injury and pain. Attempting to lift extreme weight can lead to lifters not paying attention to their breathing and holding their breath on their last rep or two. By holding your breath for too long you increase blood pressure and impede the return of blood to the heart, which can cause cramping, headaches, and even lead you to the point of fainting.  Experts at the Chandler physical therapy center recommend breathing in while lowering weight, and breathing out as you lift weight. This is extremely important for all types of lifters and can be easily forgotten when lifting. Foothill specialists suggest taking a few minutes before lifting, to practice your breathing methods and set the stage for controlled breathing while you work out.
Breathing is one of the most important, if not “the” most important elements of yoga. Most beginners will simply focus on the actual stretch itself or maintaining balance and neglect the proper way to breathe while doing yoga. Ironically, people will forget to breathe the right way because they’re focusing on holding a pose and staying balanced; however, breathing the correct way will calm your body and allow you to hold a pose longer. Your breath should be relaxed, deep, and uniform while you inhale as you move into a pose and exhale as you move out of the pose. Moreover, your breath should be of equal length where your inhalations match your exhalations. In relation to strength training, one should practice their breathing before they start exercising to ensure a successful work out.
If injury ever occurs while exercising please visit us at: and make an appointment with a physical therapy expert.

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