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Friday, July 17, 2015

How Exercising Is Impacted By The Way You Breathe

Breathing technique is often overlooked when exercising, as people assuming they are breathing correctly, or feel it's not really as big of an impact on their routine. Yet, proper breathing allows your body to more readily deliver oxygen to your muscles, more easily burn fat through oxidation and increases your stamina. It's clear that a lot more attention should be paid to breathing whenever you're exercising. Breathing correctly can help you in numerous ways, such as reducing your blood pressure, reducing stress and anxiety by lowering hormones such as adrenaline or cortisol, improve mental performance and brain health, and balance your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. There's many things for the more athletic among us can do to improve their overall breathing, and enable their body to achieve these benefits. When exercising most people chronically hyperventilate. They do this as a reaction to feelings of fatigue, feelings of lack of oxygen, and oftentimes they are not breathing deeply which actually makes our bodies react to what it perceives as too little oxygen intake. Mouth and nose breathing differ dramatically on blood oxygenation as well as fatigue prevention and hormone balance. If you breathe through your nose, you typically breathe more deeply, and this helps you to metabolize stored fat.

Inefficient Breathing - Telltale Signs

There are several ways you can tell if you're incorrectly breathing including: frequent signing, upper chest breathing, taking large breaths before speaking, erratic breathing, and mouth breathing. These have all been shown to have detrimental effects on your body. Over 50 peer-reviewed papers were analyzed recently by Dr. Buteyko and it was found that those who had these signs had adverse hormone levels, under oxygenation and fatigue far more than those which did not.

Correcting Deeply Engrained Passive Behaviors

Our breathing is one of those things we've been doing forever, usually without a second thought. Because of this, it can be quite difficult to change, and takes some seriously concerted effort to do so. As indicated previously, breathing through your nose is one of the most important things to change, and fundamental for proper breathing during exercise, but also during any normal activity. Nose breathing allows for you to absorb nitric oxide, which is naturally produced in your nose in small quantities. This beneficial gas helps to maintain homeostasis, the balance in your body, and has antibacterial properties as well. In addition to these factors, breathing through your nose helps to normalize breath volume, ensuring you are taking in roughly the same amount of air during each breath. Changing this behavior, however, is a challenge. It takes significant effort and time devotion to change your body's natural breathing to another method. There are several exercises you can do, however, to do so.

Diaphramatic Breathing

Becoming aware of the breaths you take, and how you take them, is the first step to improving your breathing. A practice called abdominal breathing can help you significantly to change your technique. A couple of times per day (it's easiest before and after your workout) you should take time to practice your breathing. Place a hand on your chest while lying face up on your back. Focus on taking slow, regular breaths through your nose. Do this for at least 5 minutes. This is a perfect thing for your warm-up, prior to starting your workout. It has the added benefit of reducing stress, decreasing hormone concentrations in your body (for things like cortisol) and helps your muscles metabolize fat more easily. This definitely will help you with your exercise, and also help you to build more muscle, burn fat, and decrease your anxiety simultaneously. In addition to this pre and post workout routine, you also want to make sure you're breathing through your nose during your entire workout. Be mindful of how you're breathing and ensure that you don't breathe through your mouth much. If you do, you should slow down the intensity of your workout. This prevents your blood pressure and heart rate from increasing, both caused by mouth breathing.

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