Why your next workout should be all about breathing
I was lucky growing up dancing and doing yoga and pilates; that proper breathing techniques became second nature to me when exercising. What I noticed throughout my career in dance and fitness however, is that most people don’t breathe correctly or understand why they should learn the technique in the first place. Here are some basics on breathing for the next time you join a class, or hit the gym:
The process of breathing requires a number of muscles to expand and collapse and when we breathe correctly we create space in the ribs and throughout the body. The Muscles help position the body in good alignment, which means it is safer for us to exercise from that point. Many people tend to hold their breath instead, and that creates tension and misalignment within the body so you are much more likely to injure yourself when moving.
Nose Breathing Rules:
When we exert energy the body will often send a message to the brain that says “help, I am tired & need oxygen — open your mouth”. Whilst this is useful to get a short burst of air to the lungs it does not help us in -flow and in fact can make it harder. It can be tricky at first but a good rule of thumb is to breathe in through the nose as that air (even if the breath feels shorter) bypasses getting stuck in your mouth and throat, and actually goes down into the diaphragm filling the belly and lungs. This means we have more air in the body, which creates more energy and blood flow to the extremities, and will ultimately give us more control over what we are doing. You can exhale via the mouth, letting all those pesky carbons out that we don’t need!
Stamina & Recovery:
Without adequate oxygen the body simply doesn’t work at its peak level from the brain right down to the smallest muscles fibre. When we have a shortage of oxygen we become tired, sleepy, and sometimes, even light headed. Not only will this reduce the amount of exercise you are capable of doing it will increase the recovery time between sets and at the end of your work out.
Taking the time to practice breathing correctly will reshape your physical and mental performance in and out of your active wear. Give it a try and let me know how you go!