Running is an aerobic activity that requires more oxygen to be consumed. However, the breath rate of a runner is usually slower than the one of a walker or cyclist. When you run, your body needs oxygen and carbon dioxide. When you exercise, your breath is your body’s most important asset.
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Let these simple, effective breathing techniques help with your running routine. Don’t try to incorporate all of these tips into your routine at once, but start by practicing them slowly. Don’t try to learn too many things at the same time; focus on one technique and give it some time to settle in before changing to something else. Wait at least a week and try another approach.
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- Why does it feel difficult?
- Nose or mouth?
- Tips for breathing better while running
- Tips if you have asthma
Why does it feel difficult?
The more challenging and dedicated an activity is the more energy your muscles and respiratory system need. An added bonus of these activities is that you can remove carbon dioxide buildup which can make breathing easier.
When you’re doing strenuous workouts, breathing can become short and shallow. This can indicate that your body is pushing beyond its limits. Shortness of breath can also be a sign of poor fitness levels or a lack of hydration.
Nose or mouth?
You can either take slow, relaxed breaths or take a deep inhale through the nose and exhale out the mouth for a moment of relief. It may be easier to breathe solely through your mouth when you are exercising since your lungs will be less focused on the lower respiratory tract. This is good to keep in mind not just with competitive sports, but also when you are at work and need to focus.
Inhaling and exhaling through your mouth allows more oxygen to enter your body and fuel your muscles. Plus, breathing through your mouth helps to relieve tension and tightness in your face and body, which can help you relax.
Tips for breathing better while running
Here are some tactics you might be able to incorporate into your workout routine that can help you achieve better breathing and calm yourself down.
1. Diaphragmatic breathing
Deep abdominal breathing allows you to get more oxygen and takes the pressure off of your respiratory system. This reduces the likelihood of side stitches, too. Breathing into your chest can cause tension in your shoulders. You may find that your body is more relaxed when you belly breathe. You could also use diaphragmatic breathing to simply relax in general!
How to do it:
- Feel the flow of air coming in and out of your belly while lying down with help from this video.
- Rest your mind and stomach with a deep breath through your nose.
- As your stomach grows, it begins to pose a more serious health risk for yourself. Pushing your diaphragm down and out can help prevent the potential potentially harmful effects of not being able to fully digest food.
- Take your time to focus on the exercise, drawing in breath and exhaling slowly. Try not to take in air when you inhale.
Doing short sessions of 5 minutes each over a few days will help you get used to the pace. After a while, you’ll be able to find your groove and keep the speed up.
Read more: Insanity Workout Vs HIIT: What’s better?
2. Breathing exercises
When you breathe, take time to focus on your breath to enhance your function. Be mindful of the exercises that resonate with you the most and create a routine from them.
- Nadishodana, also known as alternate nostril breathing, is done by inhaling fully through one nostril and then exhaling completely through the other.
- equal breathing
- rib-stretch breathing
- numbered breathing
3. Focus on form
To maximize your breathing and find stability while running, your body should be positioned to support good posture and breathing. You should keep your head aligned with your spine and avoid any undue head bobbing or shoulder lifts. Stop hunching and check your shoulders/back by using a surefire posture correction routine that includes breathing exercises.
4. Breathe rhythmically
By breathing in a rhythmic pattern, you can take in more oxygen and focus on relaxation. Each impact on the ground helps to eliminate unnecessary stress from your body.
To prevent muscle imbalance, try alternating your exhales between your right and left foot. Breathing with a rhythmic pattern allows you to put less pressure on your diaphragm so you can balance the stress of the impact across both sides of your body.
Follow a 3:2 pattern that allows you to alternate which foot gets the impact as you exhale. Inhale for three foot strikes and exhale for two. If you’re running at a faster pace, you can use a 2:1 pattern. If following a running pattern feels too complicated, simply pay attention to your breath to get a sense of how a comfortable rhythm feels.
5. Inhale Fresh Air
It will be much easier to breathe if you’re inhaling clean air. If you plan to run outdoors in an urban area with air pollution, choose the time of day when traffic is at its lowest. Avoid the busiest roads and choose streets that are less congested.
Tips if you have asthma
It’s important to stay active if you have asthma, even if exercise seems to set off or heighten symptoms. With the right approach, you can improve lung function and manage your symptoms. Take a look at some top breathing tips for runners with asthma.
6. Fair weather wins
Certain types of weather can trigger asthma symptoms. On these days, you may choose to run indoors. Cold air contains less moisture, which makes it less comfortable to breathe, and can trigger symptoms. If you do run in colder weather, cover your mouth and nose with a scarf in order to moisten and warm the air you inhale. Other triggers include changes in the weather, hot days, and thunderstorms.
7. Ease your way in and out of running
If you have asthma, it might also be important to warm up your lungs by starting slowly and building up the intensity. Your lungs will have time to start working. Once you’re finished running, it’s best to gradually slow your heart rhythm and make your lungs cool down.
8. Avoid pollen
Pollen counts are important to know before outdoor activities and it’s best to do so in the morning or after a rain when the pollen count is at its lowest. If it’s something you can’t avoid, consider wearing a pollen mask. After your run, take a shower and wash your workout clothing.