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Breathe Correctly: How to Maximize Your Training Success
To get a solid workout, you need to invest in yourself. Perhaps you have already bought new running shoes or, after initial hesitation, integrated yoga into your workout routine. What you've probably given less thought to is how to tweak one of the most basic things: your breathing. (Also Read: The Fitness Secrets Of The Instagram Stars - This Time: Daniel Toni Jais)
"In everything we do, from reaching for a glass of water to running a marathon, our body needs oxygen - literally," said Justin Sweeney, Doctor of Physical Therapy. "But if you get it wrong, wrong breathing patterns can lead to decreased stamina, decreased exercise and volume performance, dizziness and even fainting." So how you breathe air in and out is at least as important as the fact that you are exercising in the first place. That is why we have teamed up with experts to find out how you can breathe "correctly" and thus maximize your training success. (Also interesting: wakeboarder Dominik Gührs: "Hard work is the key to success")
Breathe properly: this is how it works
Once you start channeling your inner LeBron James, your muscles are particularly challenged. Because your body not only needs more oxygen, it also produces more carbon dioxide. If you start training from a resting position, your breathing rate increases from around 15 breaths per minute to around 40 to 60 per minute - so it's no wonder that breathing feels difficult during training. (Also Read: Bye Bye, Winter Bacon: How To Boost Your Fat Burning Fast)
The best you can do: find a rhythm, says Amanda Joplin, Certified Athletic Trainer. Diaphragmatic breathing, or breathing that comes from the base of the chest cavity, is ideal because, "When you breathe this way, you get increased blood flow, improved recovery, increased fat burning, less stress, and less risk of strain and cramps" says Joplin.
To practice diaphragmatic breathing, Sweeney suggests first placing one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Then watch both hands swell and fall as you breathe. The goal is to adjust your breathing so that only your hand moves over your stomach. (Also interesting: Strong into the new year: How to get strong biceps)
Adapt breathing pattern to activity
It is very important that you adapt your breathing pattern to the activity you are doing. For example, when running, try to breathe in on the first right step and exhale on the second right step, says Joplin. Ideally, during weightlifting, exhale during exertion and inhale during relaxation. Don't worry if this feels overwhelming at first - it will get easier over time!
"The more you think about your breathing technique in the beginning, the less you have to do it later, as the pattern will be built into your movement," says Sweeney. "Optimizing your breathing allows you to train longer, harder, and safer so you can continue to progress and maximize your potential." (Also Read: These 3 Mistakes Almost Everyone Makes When Working Out)
These factors also affect your breathing
Even if you consider the basics of correct breathing, external factors will affect the overall quality of your breaths - whether you're doing a workout or just walking from your car to the nearest grocery store.
Height: At high altitudes, the air pressure and oxygen levels are lower. To cope with this, the body increases its breathing rate, which means that the (already hard) exercise becomes even more difficult. If you're new to altitude training, your body will take less effective breaths until it acclimates, explains Joplin.
Tip: Be patient with yourself and make sure you don't strain yourself too early with acclimatization. (Also interesting: How to get the best six-pack ever)
Outside temperature and humidity: Breathing in very dry air can irritate the throat and respiratory tract. "In extreme temperatures, the body has to work overtime to ensure that it stays at a normal temperature," said the expert. This can result in unusually fast or deep breathing - not ideal if you're gasping for breath after just a sprint or in the middle of a set of burpees.
Tip: Try to slow your pace accordingly if external conditions make it difficult to breathe. (Also Read: Sports In Winter: An Expert Explains What To Look For Now)
Air pollution and allergens: The quality of the outside air can have a huge impact on the air you breathe during your workout. Pollutants and allergens come from cars, dust, mold, fire, plants, construction sites, animals and factories. Since you take in more air and breathe deeply during exercise, you usually bypass your nasal passages, which normally filter pollutant particles from the air.
Tip: Exercise early in the morning or at night. Ozone levels often peak in the afternoon and early evening. In addition, there are high levels of carbon monoxide, which are a problem during morning and evening rush hours. (Also interesting: Fit in everyday life: 5 tips that you can implement immediately)
This text is based on the article "How to Optimize Your Breathing During Workouts" by Emily Abbate, which was originally published on GQ.com.
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