When most people think about working out, they don’t take time to consider how important it is to have proper lung function, and how correct breathing techniques can improve your workout.
In order to improve your air intake, you have to focus on building a strong diaphragm. The thoracic diaphragm is the thin dome-shaped muscle that lies underneath the lungs at the bottom of the ribcage. With every breath you take, the diaphragm contracts, and allows air to be brought into the lungs. It is the muscle that is the most responsible for breathing, and without a diaphragm, breathing unaided would be impossible.
Weak breathing is linked to struggling during cardio exercise. Your legs will feel more fatigued and overall you will be more tired if you workout without knowing the proper way to breathe. Here are a few breathing tips to increase your lung performance, which in turn will improve your workout overall. You can practice deep breathing all the time, and you can even use it to help lose weight while you are watching tv.
The key to correct breathing form is to breath in deeply, instead of just taking in shallow breaths. Shallow breathing doesn’t allow your lungs to fill with air all the way, thus you must take in several shallow breaths in order to equal the efficiency of taking in one deep breath. Most people are naturally shallow breathers because they haven’t taken the time or put in any effort to strengthen their lungs or diaphragm. Just like any other muscle in the body, it will take a little work to build up strength so that you are breathing in the most effective way possible.
To practice breathing in deeply, take in slow breaths (using your mouth so that you can take in as much air as possible), and make sure that your stomach area puffs out with each breath. If you stomach remains in the same position, but your lungs and chest puff out when you breath in, then you are shallow breathing, and you must focus on your stomach area while you breathe in order to correct yourself. As you exhale, the stomach should come back in. It may feel a little weird at first, since most people are used to keeping their tummies tucked while they breath, but after a some practice, you’ll find that deep breathing is easy and helpful.
To make sure that you are breathing in deeply while you exercise, practice your deep breathing throughout the day. Do it as you work to improve your correct treadmill running form. Focus on it while you are our cycling. Try to incorporate it into any workout that you do, as best as you can. Once your body is used to this new style of breathing, you will tend to do it naturally, without even thinking about it. By changing your breathing pattern, you will find that you don’t get winded quite as fast, and that you have added endurance and stamina while you are working out.
After you have switched to breathing in deeply, there are some other stretches and exercises that will continue to strengthen your lungs and diaphragm. For an explaination of each and a video clip showing how they are done, check out this article on Runner’s World.