How to Breathe for Every Type of Exercise

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How to Breathe for Every Type of Exercise

How to Breathe for Every Type of Exercise

How to Breathe for Every Type of Exercise


Breathe in, breathe out—simple right? Not so fast. When it comes to exercise, the art of inhaling and exhaling may be a little more complicated than we think.

Breathe Easy—Your Action Plan

Whether it’s time to hit the turf, track, or squat rack, breathing isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind.  But smooth and efficient breathing is crucial for delivering the oxygen our bodies need to perform functions properly. Proper breathing can also help athletes exercise longer with less effort,  side stitches, and even calm the mind.


Alison McConnell, a breathing expert and author of Breathe Strong Perform Better, saysto take two steps (one left, one right) while breathing in and two steps while breathing out—also known as the 2:2 rhythm. McConnell says, synchronizing the breath to running cadence/ elliptical/ cycle will keep the organs from putting unnecessary pressure on the diaphragm, which can impede breathing.

Breathing through nose increases CO2 saturation in the blood, which creates a more calming effect, it also helps warm the air entering the lungs (cold weather workouts) and minimize allergen intake.


How to do it right: Using the bench press as an example, exhale slowly and continuously while pressing the bar, then inhale at the top of the lift or on the return. Just remember that once that barbell is pressed, the weight doesn’t vanish, McConnell explains, so be sure to keep the core engaged to protect the spine, similar to preparing for impact during contact sports.

When in doubt: Don’t forget to breathe out! Holding the breath increases pressure inside the chest (which is good for stability), but holding it too long can impede the return of blood to the heart and raise blood pressure (definitely not the goal here).
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