Breathing Exercises and How They Help Your Workout
- Breathing correctly provides many benefits to your health, including lowering blood pressure, reducing stress and anxiety, balancing your nervous system, improving workout or athletic performance, and boosting brain health.
- Nose breathing provides many essential benefits to the body, such as supplying your body with just the right amount of oxygen to help you relax and focus more clearly on what you are doing.
- There are several breathing exercises you can add to your workout, including warm-up breathing and abdominal breathing before and after your workout, which can help you prepare your body for exercise and increase your lung capacity.
How many breaths would you say you take in a day? Believe it or not, to get proper oxygen throughout your body, your average breaths per day should be right around 20,000. While that may seem like a lot, it is what your body needs to function correctly. This would be known as your “normal” breathing pattern that occurs all day, every day.
Unfortunately, if you were to ask an expert, they would tell you that you are breathing wrong. Are you surprised by this? There is far more to breathing than just taking your normal everyday breaths to survive. Learning to breathe correctly comes with many bonuses to your health. Check out these benefits.
- Helps to lower your blood pressure
- A fantastic way to help reduce stress and anxiety
- Balancing your nervous systems
- Improving your workout or athletic performance
- Excellent for boosting brain health and helping you to focus
When you are told that you are breathing wrong, how do you know the right or wrong way to breathe? Many people believe there is no right or wrong way to breathe. However, we are here to prove that wrong. There is such a thing as a right or wrong way. Here are some great examples of breathing the wrong way.
- Have you ever heard of over-breathing? This term is also known as hyperventilating or breathing too hard. Hyperventilating is a pretty common occurrence among those who are overstressed, extremely emotional, or working out way too hard.
- Mouth Breathing occurs when you inhale and exhale through your mouth without using your nose. If your nose is all plugged up, you do not have much choice but to breathe this way. However, breathing primarily through your mouth affects your oxygen levels more than if you were breathing through your nose. Mouth breathing is also very easy to come by when working out, simply because your body feels like it is not getting enough oxygen. Unfortunately, mouth breathing does more harm than good to your body as you work out, simply because your lungs do not open as well as they would through nose breathing.
- Loud Breathing is quite common among people, especially those who are overweight or suffer from apnea problems. Again, loud breathing occurs when your body is working hard to get the proper oxygen supply through the body.
- Chest Breathing is also a common mistake among people. Rather than breathing deeply through your belly, using your diaphragm, many people will breathe strictly through the chest only, depriving themselves of those deep breaths the lungs need to open up fully.
- Shallow Breathing is also a common mistake people make. Shallow breathing is very similar to chest breathing. However, shallow breathing requires more small breaths than fewer deep breaths, thus making it more difficult for your body to receive the proper oxygen.
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Learning To Nose Breathe
Of course, as mentioned above, everyone has their “normal” breathing pattern that helps keep your body functioning properly to survive. However, specific exercises with your breathing provide these fantastic benefits to your overall health and deliver the right amounts of oxygen throughout the body. Before learning these breathing exercises, there is one important thing you need to know first…nose breathing!
Did you know that breathing through your nose provides a gas called nitric oxide that travels to your lungs, helping them open more freely and relax your body more fully? By breathing through your nose, you are supplying your body with just the right amount of oxygen to help you relax and focus more clearly on what you are doing.
You have probably noticed how difficult breathing is when your nose is plugged up. In ways, it almost gives you the feeling that you are suffocating. Of course, it is a blessing that we have our mouths as backup to breathe with when the nose is choosing not to function properly. However, the more you learn to breathe through your nose, the better the benefits.
Becoming aware of your breath is the first step to learning how to breathe properly.
Breathing Exercises To Add To Your Workout
Before you begin your breathing exercises, become familiar with your breathing patterns, and practice breathing through your nose as much as possible. If you are sitting at your desk working, try to breathe through your nose. If you are feeling stressed or upset or preparing to work out, inhale and exhale through the nose as much as possible. It is an excellent first step in preparing yourself for some fantastic breathing exercises. Once you have familiarized yourself, slip into some excellent fitness shoes and check out these fantastic breathing exercises to add to your workout.
1. Warm Up Breathing
Breathing is an important part of a good workout or athletic performance. As you breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, take a few minutes to foam roll your upper body. Spending some time warming up the upper body areas that support each breath is important. These areas include the chest, shoulders, and neck. Once you have taken a few minutes, move on to your more active warm-up that prepares the rest of your body for a good workout. Just keep remembering to breathe!
2. Abdominal Breathing Before And After Your Workout
Once you have done your warm-up breathing, lay on the floor, flat on your back, with your legs resting at a 90-degree angle on a chair. Lay one arm on your abdomen and the other on your chest. Focus on taking slow deep breaths through your nose. As you inhale, your belly should rise before your chest. Continue to breathe in and out without breaks in between for about 3-5 minutes. Not only does this relax your body, but it also helps you to focus more on your workout once you begin.
Note: This breathing exercise is recommended after your workout as well to help calm the body back down after a hard workout.
As you workout, make sure you are breathing through your nose at all times. This makes it possible to increase your intensity much more freely than if you breathe through your mouth.”
3. The Buteyko Breathing Method
This method is done simply by sitting straight without crossing your legs while breathing normally. Take a small breath in and out through your nose, then pinch your nose to keep air from entering. Hold your breath as long as possible until you feel the urge to breathe again. Record your time and repeat as many times as you would like. Then follow this chart below.
- CP (control pause) between 40-60 indicates a normal healthy breathing pattern.
- CP of 20-40 indicates mild breathing impairment, leading to potential health problems later in life.
- CP of 10-20 indicates significant breathing impairment and poor intolerance to physical exercise.
- CP below 10 indicates a serious breathing problem and a doctor’s recommendation to indicate the cause of your breathing impairment.
Learning to do all the right things for your body at all the right times will provide you with all the best benefits possible for a happy and healthy quality of life. As you work to learn how to breathe better through your workouts, KURU is there to help support your foundation in all the ways possible.
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