The Key to Exercise? Just Breathe.

by Deborah McConnell

April 07, 2014 // Category: Fitness Advisor

BreathingExercise.jpgWe’ve all had that surprising moment – in the middle of an ab workout, treadmill run or bench press – when we realize we’ve been inexplicably holding our breath. Our faces are red, there’s pressure in our chest and sometimes a wave of dizziness sets in. Chances are, we finish the set before we explosively exhale, sometimes gasping for breath. I’m here to say that even though breathing incorrectly is a common occurrence during exercise, it’s still something we need to fix. 

Breathing right will improve your workout output, bring much-needed oxygen to your muscles, and keep you more aware. Let’s focus on cardio and strength training, and see how optimal breathing can come into play.

Breathing During Cardio.

While doing a cardio workout, fatigue can set in quickly if you’re breathing incorrectly. Whether you are running outside or on a PowerMill stairclimber; consider these three points to help you go the distance:

• Go for deep, expanding belly breaths. Inefficient shallow breathing will tire you out (and deny critical oxygen) much more quickly.

• Breathe with a 3:2 inhale-to-exhale ratio. This means you inhale for three steps on the PowerMill, exhale for the next two steps, and repeat. Easy, right?

• Use a less strenuous warm up to get used to the breathing style. This will create an easy rhythm before your workout begins, and the transition will be easier.

Breathing while Strength Training:

When testing your muscles, breathing correctly is a crucial facet into getting the burn you need to improve. Our new Life Fitness Insignia Series combines the latest in premium design and biomechanically sound movements for an optimal strength-training experience – consider the following two tips to help you get maximum output:

• Don’t hold your breath while strength training. During times of physical strain, the body expels more carbon dioxide waste and thus needs a greater oxygen supply to achieve peak performance.

• Exhale during the most challenging portion of movement, and inhale as you return to the starting position. For instance, exhale while pushing outward on the chest press, while pulling on the biceps curl, or while extending your legs on the seated leg press. Inhale as you return each to its starting position.

Breathing right might sound simple – and it is. You just have to do it. I think you’ll be shocked to discover just how much better your workout gets with some extra oxygen in the tank. Now take a deep breath and go the distance!

 
Deborah McConnell
 

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