Ways To Improve Your Breathwork
Breathing is an essential part of the exercise, but many people don’t consider it something to work on and instead spend time improving muscle strength and keeping a healthy diet. While there’s nothing at all wrong with this, it also means you’re only achieving half of your fitness potential. If you’re planning on running a marathon, ultramarathon, or just want to improve your long-distance running abilities, we’ve got the tips and tricks to smash goals and become the training legend you’ve always been destined to become. So here for you today are the ultimate guide to improving your breathwork so you never have to struggle, wheeze, or keel over ever again during your run.
Keep Your Lungs Healthy
It seems like an obvious point to make, but one of the easiest ways you can improve your breathwork is to keep your lungs healthy. This means quitting smoking, avoiding secondhand smoke and doing your best to avoid heavily polluted areas.
You can also eat foods rich in antioxidants such as dark chocolate, blueberries, and beans to help improve your lung health, as these will help you flush out any toxins and start you on your way to breathing better and comfortably.
Also known as belly breathing, this technique engages the diaphragm which is expected to most of the hard work with breathing.
If you’re someone who has always struggled with breathing during exercise and finds they can’t run more than 100 feet without getting exhausted, this is a great way to work yourself up towards more intense exercise. It requires a bit of practice, and you won’t get it right overnight, but you can work on it at home by following these steps:
- Relax your shoulders and lie (or sit) down
- Place a hand on the stomach and one on your chest
- Inhale through the nose for 2 seconds and feel the air move into your stomach
- Breathe out for 2 seconds
Keep repeating this until you’ve got it right.
Breathing through pursed lips slows your breathing down and reduces the work required by increasing the time the airways stay open. This makes puts less pressure on the lungs while also encouraging the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. If diaphragmatic breathing doesn’t sound like your thing, this is a much simpler option for beginners.
Sure, you may look like you’re trying to give everyone you pass a quick peck on the cheek, and this could lead to you developing a reputation as the local pervert, but with how well it’s set to improve your breathing, they subsequent angry mob won’t be able to catch you even if they tried.
The mistake most people unfamiliar with proper breathwork make when first starting out is breathing through the mouth instead of the nose. However, nose breathing is more beneficial, as your nose contains small amounts of nitric oxide, a gas which is highly useful for your lungs.
It also helps you create deeper breaths, allowing you to take in more oxygen which helps your muscles maintain the energy needed to keep you going.
Overbreathing, or hyperventilation, is arguably one of the worst things you can do when exercising. It causes you to lose carbon dioxide too quickly without taking in enough oxygen. From here, the muscles around your throat tighten, which becomes a vicious cycle of trying to breathe even more and failing.
This can lead to lightheadedness and if you’re not careful, you could pass out, and with a lack of blood flow, you also risk suffering heart problems both minor and severe.
Improve Your Posture
Posture is a big thing with any kind of exercise and maintaining great posture is one of the most straightforward ways to improve your breathwork. By getting your spine straight and pulling your shoulders back, you expand the size of your lungs, allowing you to inhale more air and keep your energy levels up, plus good posture makes you look like a cool, confident dude who knows exactly what they’re doing.
Using a patterned breathing method, you can train yourself so you instinctively breathe more naturally in exercise scenarios. This works a little like diaphragmatic breathing, but also allows you to customize it to suit you. As you increase your lung capacity, you can increase the length of the breaths you take so that soon enough you’ll have no trouble running up that hill and still feel fresh when you reach the summit.
Buteyko Breathing Method
This method helps you determine your CO2 levels, which lines up with how well you can hold your breath before breathing out. The test is simple, and it dictates the lower the Control Pause, the more severe your breathing issues. When you have understood your CP, you can focus on different breathing techniques to better combat poor breathwork and hopefully start on a journey to improve your breathing, your fitness, and more.
Cultivate Great Air Quality
You can cultivate and get great air quality without even leaving your home. This is easily done by filling your house with the right plants, which are excellent for improving your quality of life by absorbing toxins.
You can also invest in air filters to reduce and eliminate mold to stop spores getting trapped in your lungs so you can finally breathe easy.
Practice At Home
You don’t have to get out into the world to improve your breathwork, and we’d actually recommend you practice at home before doing anything else. This puts you in a comfortable environment and allows you to make progress at your own pace.
You can do these breath exercises for simple tasks and as you improve, you can look towards more intense activities, either with exercise machines like treadmills or ellipticals, or more DIY methods such as running up the stairs.
Breathe In The Air
We’re not suggesting you try to accomplish all of these ideas, but taking some of them into account where possible can do wonders for your breathwork during exercise. Some suggestions are easier than others, but if you’re willing to try out some of the more unique and unfamiliar options, you might start feeling you’ve got lungs to rival a blue whale and can run for as long as you want, wherever you want.
- How to Increase Lung Capacity – Healthline
- Using the Right Plants Can Reduce Indoor Pollution and Save Energy – Science Daily
- 3 Exercises to Increase Your Lung Power – ACTIVE