Whatever exercise you are doing, spare a thought for your breathing and the feedback it is giving you about your exercise session and your body.
Breathing is the delivery of oxygen to muscles and organs. So, if you can understand your breathing and improve it, you get better at exercise and enjoy an enhanced sense of wellbeing.
During cardio training, the rate and depth of your breath give an indication of how hard you are working. A light session can cause you to huff and puff and describe the feeling as uncomfortable. If you are doing interval training, sprints, hills or using HIIT principles your breath becomes much faster and shallower, reflecting how hard you are working – and makes you want to stop.
The more efficient your breathing technique and stronger your breathing muscles, the more you will be able to cope with before you feel fatigue and the less rest you will need before you can repeat the exercise.
Focus on keeping the breaths deep and steady, rather than shallow and gasping. Strengthen your core, as this encourages you to use your more powerful primary breathing muscles, instead of your less efficient secondary ones.
Whether you are lifting heavy weights, doing high reps or circuits, resistance training increases your breath and heart rate. The correct breathing technique is to breathe out on exertion and breathe in as you are returning the weight to the start position. This helps you to perform the exercises safely and feel strong during the movement.
Certain exercises can help mobilise the muscles that expand the rib cage and join the rib cage to the pelvis. Strengthening and lengthening these muscles allows you to breathe more efficiently. Include Kettlebell swings, dumbbell pullovers, dumbbell flyes and medicine ball asterix into your workouts.
Your breathing technique is a focus during yoga and Pilates. Attention to breath allows you to fully embrace the calming effect of a session and many instructors will teach you how to breathe from the belly, like a baby. Correct breathing also enhances your focus and teaches you how to maintain the position of your spine, helping manage or prevent back pain.
Many poses and movements stretch and rebalance tight muscles allowing your rib cage to fully expand with every breath. This benefit can be felt both during the session and enjoyed in daily life.
By Rachel Livingstone Personal Trainer & Owner of The Health Hub
Copyright © 2020 Bondi Beauty, All Rights Reserved.