Just Breathe – Rules of Fitness #7
Rule of Fitness #7 — Just Breathe
Most people take it for granted, but the act of breathing is a marvelous thing! It’s something we’re born knowing how to do. On average, an adult human takes 23,040 breaths per day. And yet, for something so instinctive, a lot of folks breathe incorrectly during their workouts.
Focus on your breath.
Your muscles are screaming for oxygen during your exercise sessions. Placing a mindful focus on deep breathing while working out provides tremendous physical benefits. Your muscles and cells will be saturated with more oxygen. The strength in your respiratory muscles will grow. Your focus and concentration will increase and your overall performance will improve.
As with anything, the more you practice, the stronger you become. By focusing on your breathing, your diaphragm and other respiratory muscles become more efficient. Slow, deep breathing delivers more oxygen with less effort. Don’t hold your breath! Take that deep breath before the movement and push it out as you are performing the motion. Focusing on your breathing will help you get more power out of your movements.
Focused mindful breathing can help you outside the gym, too. It can reduce your stress level significantly. There are techniques from different practices, such as yoga, Pilates, and T’ai Chi, that can slow the heart rate, improve the circulation, and increase oxygen flow to the brain.
Other popular breathing techniques include alternate nostril breathing (a set amount of breaths through only one nostril, then the other) and reverse breathing (inhaling through the mouth and exhaling through the nose).
Don’t forget to laugh!
One of the best breathing exercises is one that may not immediately come to mind. It’s laughter! Laughing allows for inhalation through the nose and mouth at the same time, releases endorphins, and makes you feel good.
Be aware of your breathing both during your exercise routine and everyday life!