How To Breathe While Running

One important facet of learning any type of exercise is the proper breathing technique. However, most people don’t focus on how to breathe while running, since it’s something they’ve been doing since they first learned to run as a toddler. Learning the right way to breathe can make a huge difference in how comfortable you are when you run and your performance. People develop bad habits as they grow that trains the body not react naturally. There are different types of breathing techniques, so finding the best one for you is important.

If you’re going out for a jog with a friend, breathing in through the nose and out the mouth is easy.

The yoga style breathing, in through the nose and out through the mouth, is easy to do if you’re putting out light effort. In fact, low effort is measured by being able to talk and run at the same time. However, it doesn’t work well as you pick up the speed, so switching to a combination of breathing in through the nose or mouth can keep you running. Practice belly breathing to help ensure your nasal breaths are deeper and you exhale more thoroughly to stay at your pace.

Belly breathing—diaphragm breathing can help build muscles to help you breathe more efficiently.

One reason people often gasp for breath is that they have shallow breathing, which causes the body to tense more and doesn’t allow for deeper breaths. Breathing from the abdomen builds the muscles that help you breathe better and inhale more air. You use the oxygen more efficiently and expel the carbon dioxide more thoroughly. You should practice it when you’re not running, since it takes a bit of time to adjust. Lay on your back with one hand on your stomach. Fill your abdomen with air by breathing in through the nose. As you expand your stomach, your diaphragm should be pushed out and down. Practice exhaling longer than inhaling.

Practice different breathing techniques and exercises.

There are many different techniques that can help improve your lung function and make you more aware of the breaths you take. One is the pursed lips, where you breathe in through the nose and out through lips that are held like you’re going to whistle. Alternate nostril breathing is a technique from yoga. Put your thumb over one nostril as you breathe in and then close that nostril with your pinky, release your thumb and breathe out through that side. Equal breathing, rib-stretch breathing, lion’s breath and numbered breathing are a few other techniques.

  • If you want to use diaphragmatic breathing, practice five minutes a day laying down for several days. When you try to add it to your run, keep your pace slow until it’s natural, then increase your pace.
  • During high intensity workouts, like sprints, if you feel the need to mouth breathe, research shows there are benefits for both. It’s a matter of choice, but only during those high-intensity workouts.
  • One technique is breathing to match your foot strikes. Most studies suggest that matching one breath to every two foot strikes is the most favorable. Breathe in for two to three foot strikes and out for the same number.
  • Make sure your posture is perfect when you run. Poor posture can minimize your intake of air. Check your form and do exercises that help with posture if your shoulders aren’t back and head up, which lets the air flow in an unrestricted manner to the lungs.

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