How We’ve Learned to Breathe While Exercising
I’ve heard enough traditional aerobic instruction that it is ingrained in my mind to I breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth when exercising. I still use this method, but find that when I get deep into an exercise routine I want to breathe in and out through my mouth. My breathes become more shallow.
Breathing is one of those battles of the mind that we must fight when we exercise. It is easier to win the battle of breathing if we will decide how we are going to breathe before we begin to exercise.
Learning to Use Yogic Breathing
Yogic breathing involves deep nasal breathing, both in and out through the nostrils. I’ve implemented this in my own exercise and fitness routines other than yoga and have found a number of benefits.
Benefits of Yoga Breathing
I breathe more easily even during a harder work out or more vigorous exercise. Better breathing enables me to increase my exercise workload whether I am running, biking, or working on the elliptical.
I’ve found that yogic breathing makes me feel more invigorated during my workout. This allows me to enjoy the workout more. I’m also able to exercise longer because my heart rate increases more slowly and even as it does increase my perceived rate of exertion is lower than my heart rate exertion (as measured using a heart rate monitor).
Professional Athletes Implement Yoga Breathes
According to Susan Moran writing for Yoga Journal, professional athletes like Martina Navratilova and Jennifer Capriati. John Douilard, author of Body, Mind, and Sport encouraged these athletes and others to use yogic breathing. According to Douilard, breathing deeply into the diaphragm through the nasal passages allows us to breathe more effectively by pulling more air into the lower lobes of the lungs. This helps calm the parasympathetic nerve system and lower our heart rate. This makes exercise easier and allows you to take your workout farther.
Ideally, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth enables the same exchange in the lower lungs. The difference is that yoga teaches us to focus on our breath which encourages us to breathe deeply. It is easy to get distracted and begin to take quick, shallow breathes when breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth.
The Bottom Line on Breathing and Exercise
The bottom line is that breathing is as important to your exercise and fitness routine as the workout you have chosen. It is an aspect of exercise that you should think about and keep in mind as you exercise in order to get the most out of your workout.
Whether you use yogic breathing or traditional nasal/oral breathing remind yourself to take deep breathes into the diaphragm.
Moran, Susan, “Going the Distance,” Yoga Journal, February 2007.