Proper Breathing Pattern While exercising

Mastering the proper breathing pattern while exercising not only helps avoid internal injuries, but also improves performance in order to get more out of your work-outs. Here is what you need to know about how to breathe properly during your next work-out session:

1. Exercising

A. Cardiovascular exercise

When you are walking, jogging, biking or doing any other form of cardiovascular exercise, take deep breaths. Make a conscious effort to keep your breathing both deep and relaxed.

· The 3:2 ratio: To make sure that your muscles are getting adequate oxygen and your body is getting rid of the carbon dioxide produced, follow the 3:2 inhale-to-exhale ratio. This means you inhale during the first 3 steps and exhale during the next 2. To master this breathing pattern you may have to slow down your speed the first few times.

· The “talk test”: To determine whether you are breathing properly, take the “talk test”. Recite something and if you can talk comfortably without gasping, it means you are getting adequate oxygen.

B. Strength training

The golden rule for proper breathing while doing strength training is to exhale on exertion. For instance, while doing bicep curls, breathe out while you lifting the dumbbells and breathe in as you slowly lower the dumbbells. Breathing out during exertion is important to avoid internal injuries such as hernia, blood vessel strain and high blood pressure.

2. Stretching

Proper breathing pattern while stretching is as important as proper breathing while exercising. A proper breathing pattern helps you to increase your flexibility as it relaxes your muscles and increases your range of motion. Take deep breaths during stretches instead of short, shallow ones. Breathe in through the nose and breathe out through the mouth.

· Exhale when you are getting into the stretch;

· Breathe normally while you hold the stretch; and

· Inhale when releasing a stretch and returning to your original position.


Many people have this question, whether they should breathe through their nose or mouth during exercise. While studies on the subject have been inconclusive, both have their own pros and cons.

Breathing through the mouth is the route of least resistance enabling you to breathe with greater ease. Breathing through the nose helps filter the air you take in and also makes the air warm before it enters the lungs, a great help during winter work-outs.

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