Tips to Help You Breathe Much Better When Running

Tips to Help You Breathe Better When Running

When you’re running, your breath is of the utmost importance. When performing strenuous activities (like running) your muscles and lungs need to work harder than usual. The quality of your breathing can be an indicator of your level of fitness level. If you’re working too hard, you may experience shortness of breath, nausea, tightness in the chest, and wheezing.

To help improve your breathing and consequently your running, try these simple yet effective techniques.

1. Practice stomach breathing

Deep abdominal breathing (also known as stomach breathing) strengthens the muscles in your respiratory system and allows you to get more air. This in turn lets you use oxygen more efficiently, prevent tension in your shoulders, and keep your body relaxed. Here’s how to do it:

  • Lie flat on your back.
  • Breathe through your nose and fill your stomach with air.
  • Push your diaphragm down as your stomach expands.
  • Exhale slowly (make it longer than your inhale).
  • Repeat this process for 3-5 minutes a day.

3. Improve your running posture.

To help you breathe easily when running, maintain good posture and keep your head aligned with your spine. Don’t strain your neck forward and keep your shoulder relaxed, away from your ears.

4. Practice rhythmic breathing.

Breathing in a rhythmic pattern lets you inhale more oxygen and reduces the strain on your body. Rhythmic breathing, also known as cadence breathing, indicates the number of steps you take on inhale as well as exhale. For most runners there is a natural tendency to have an equal number of foot strikes for every inhale and exhale. You inhale every 2 steps and then exhale every 2 steps. The better way is to focus on a breathing pattern that lets you alternate one side with the other side. You can do a 3: 2 pattern wherein you inhale after 3 steps, and then exhale after 2 steps. If you run fast, you can try the 2:1 pattern where you inhale for 2 steps and exhale for a single step.

5. Know when to run.

Certain types of weather can cause asthma symptoms to flare up. If the weather outside is not conducive for running, go to the gym instead. In airconditioned gyms like LA Fitness you can pretty much run any time of the day or any day of the year.

6. Try to inhale and exhale through the mouth and nose.

Breathing through the mouth alone may trigger a hyperventilating effect. On the other hand, when you breath only through your nose, you won’t get enough oxygen. The solution: breathe using your nose and mouth. Doing so will help you maintain steady breathing and at the same time, encourage your body to engage your diaphragm so you can take a maximum amount of oxygen intake whilst expelling carbon dioxide fast.

7. Warm up your respiratory system

About 70% of runners get side stitches when running, especially for new runners. It occurs when the muscle in the diaphragm is cramping. Improper breathing is most likely the cause of side stitches. To avoid this problem, you should warm up your diaphragm by practicing deep belly breathing. As you slowly maintain your breathing rate, you can gradually increase your speed to allow your diaphragm muscles to adjust to rapid or harder breathing.

To learn more about how you can improve your breathing when you run, watch this video:

Proper Breathing While Running

Category: Featured