How to Breathe When Exercising

By Joe Rivera, eHow Contributing Writer



Whenever I start with a new client, I tell them that there are three things of utmost importance: honesty, grace (presence) and breathing.

With honesty I ask that they let me know when something feels wrong on their body and to be honest with themselves by pushing to their limit.  With grace I tell them to move as efficiently as possible and to make transitions from one position to another as easily as possible.  With breathing I tell them that the general rule of thumb when exercising is to exhale on exertion (the hard part of the movement) and inhale during the easier part of a movement. On a push up, for example, you inhale on the way down and exhale when you are pushing up away from the floor.

It is a known fact that you can live without food for up to a few weeks and without water for up to a few days, but without oxygen, your life is over in a few minutes.  I guess what I mean to say here is that breathing properly during exercise is important. Let’s take a look at a few things to do that might help you.

Difficulty: Moderate


Things You’ll Need:

• Common Sense

• Focus

1. Step 1

Figure out which is the easiest part of the movement (inhale) and which is the hardest (exhale).  Generally, the harder part of an exercise or movement involves fighting against gravity, as in the push up example.

2. Step 2

Let your breath dictate your pace or the speed at which you perform any given part of a movement. If you are doing reps of an exercise and start hyperventilating, chances are your breath is too shallow and you are doing the reps too quickly. Slow down.

3. Step 3

For steady, sustained cardiovascular-type exercise such as running, stair climbing or hiking, try to use your normal breathing pattern or do your best to increase the length of your inhales and exhales. Also, if you are having trouble catching your breath–slow down.

Tips & Warnings

• Not breathing can be hazardous to your health.