Often times during exercise we forget about our breathing as we are jamming out to our new favorite song or simply holding our breath until we pump out that last rep. But did you know that breathing patterns can enhance your performance during exercise and even increase fat burn? Our breathing should be smooth, efficient and should come from the belly (diaphragm) and not the chest.
Let's start by separating the different types of exercise; aerobic and anaerobic.
Aerobic exercise requires the consumption of oxygen to meet energy needs, this will be your lower intensity exercise for longer periods of time such as cardio and medium to long distance exercise. Many experts say that full inhalation and full exhalation is best for this type of exercise. If you are running, try a 3:2 ratio such as inhaling on your step left, right, left and exhaling on your next right, left.
Anaerobic exercise is a shorter duration at a higher intensity requiring less oxygen and more energy coming from the muscles. Some examples would be your high intensity sports and strength training. Breathing techniques for increased performance here would be exhale on exertion meaning breathe out during your press, pull or "effort" phase and inhaling when you return to starting position. An example would be during your bench press exhaling on your press up and inhaling on the way back down to your chest. This will help brace the core and protect the spine.
Some experts say that the benefits increase when we inhale through the nose and exhale out the mouth. 'Nose breathing' increases the CO2 saturation in the blood creating a calming effect. Breathing through the nose also brings warm air to the lungs which is beneficial when the temperatures are low for exercise. It is important to keep practicing breathing patterns and techniques to continually improve performance and decrease chances of injury as we are creating more core and spine stability with every inhale.
I hope you enjoyed this one, please leave a comment below if you have a question or requests for my next post! Enjoy the last week of May, WHAT?!