Proper Breathing while Running

April 17, 2012

We all know that running is a great form of cardiovascular exercise for the entire body. Although some of us may not consider ourselves true runners, if you participate in the activity at any level, it is important to learn how to breathe properly. Everyone from treadmill joggers to cross country athletes can benefit from learning the correct breathing techniques. Vigorous exercise, such as running, can help with weight loss efforts as well as cardiovascular health. Improvements to one’s high blood pressure, cholesterol, and other associated heart conditions can be made with this form of activity, so the health benefits go above and beyond other less intense versions of exercise. Running also has benefits for the skeletal system, namely when it comes to the strengthening of bones. When people live sedentary lives and do not put a healthy amount of stress on their bones, they actually get weaker. Therefore, people who run tend to have stronger bones. Running has also been associated with overall improved mental health. If you have heard of the popular “runner’s high”, you know that there is even a sense of euphoria felt by released hormones after running for a certain period of time. Because of all of these health benefits of running, it is a great idea to start incorporating more running into your fitness regimen if you haven’t done so already and it is an even better idea to do so properly by following these easy breathing techniques.

Breathing Techniques & Tips

Breathing techniques can be different depending on what type of running you are doing (e.g. running for aerobic exercise vs. running a marathon). Marathon runners should breathe in and out of the mouth, for example. Sprinters and short-distance runners may be required to even hold their breath. Overall, there are some general techniques that all runners can follow and it is pretty standard practice to breath in through your nose and out through your mouth during a regular fitness run.

1) A good idea is to start counting your steps. A 2-and-2 breathing pattern is when you breath in for one 2-count (left foot, right foot) and then out for the next. You can keep this counting pattern up until the flow becomes natural and you no longer have to count. A 4-count pattern can also be used for aerobic types of running, however if you decide to pick up the pace, you can shorten the count to a breathing rhythm that is comfortable for you.

 2) Another tip is to focus on the sound of your breath. That is to breath as quietly as possible, and if you are unable to do so without huffing and puffing, you may be running too fast.

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 3) Deep breaths work best for runningas they fill the lungs so that your body has plenty of oxygen stored for the work that it is doing. Deep breathing may also improve your running posture, holding in your abdomen and lower back. In order to improve the depth of your breath, you can try pushing out your stomach so that the lungs can expand to their full capacity. It is very important your nasal airways are open to get more oxygen. Prefer herbal remedies to keep your passages open and your lungs healthy, instead of using steroid inhalers. BioVent Drops, by Native Remedies, is a fast-acting formula in a concentrated tincture, that encourages easy and steady breathing and promotes long-term respiratory health and functioning. Try Bio Vent Drops using our discounted price and leave us a feedback as a comment under this post.

Benefits of Proper Breathing while Running

Proper breathing technique has been associated with both increased endurance and efficiency. Deep breaths that leave the lungs full are beneficial for your endurance as your body has enough oxygen stored to endure your run. Similarly, the breathing rhythm is important for making the run more comfortable and therefore, enabling you to keep up with your running routine and even increase the intensity, whether it be by distance or speed.


Just as exercising changes the conditioning of our body, breathing exercises can change the condition of our diaphragm. The better your diaphragm can function, the more efficient your breath and run will be. Research has shown that there is actually a link between the efficiency of your breathing/strength of the diaphragm and the strength in your legs. Marathon participants in the study demonstrated that the stronger their diaphragm, the stronger their legs and less likely they are to be fatigued during a race.

The same research solidified the value of diaphragm breathing and the inefficiency of chest breathing. The study showed that most runners, in fact, were chest breathers. A simple test can be done to see if you are a chest or belly breather. After running or sprinting for a period of time, stop and put one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. If you are a diaphragm breather, your chest should be relatively still and your stomach should be moving in and out.

After determining your current status and breathing type, you can follow some of the above advice and tips to improve your breathing or running efficiency. The overall benefits of running are generally recognized, but now you may have a new understanding and appreciation for what proper breathing technique can do for your running performance. If you have already taken the measures to get healthy and fit, take the extra step improve upon your stride.


  • Slavko Desik April 18, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Great post Elena.
    Even though people underestimate this when running, it’s not that naive of a thing. Breathing right ensures we are progressing properly, and also makes our training more enjoyable. I agree with your advice on listening to the sound of breathing- it’s a great indicator that points us in the right direction without any further ado.

    • Elena Anne April 18, 2012 at 7:32 pm

      You are right Slavko, people underestimate breathing properly while running. It is the last thing they take care, even if they know that running is a cardiovascular exercise which requires taking more oxygen and increases lung capacity. Running with a specific “rhythm” provides a less tiring workout with better results. Thank you for your points and visiting.

  • John Mak April 18, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Hello Elena,

    Breathing is playing a vital role in health and physics! I have learned that technical breathing improves our energy and produces activity so all cells are active in our bodies..

    Thanks for sharing these great tips!

    John Mak

    • Elena Anne April 23, 2012 at 9:09 pm

      You are right John, breathing is playing vital role, we need to develop a breathing technique and it depends on the speed and intensity that we want when we run. Thank you John for your comment :)

  • Nick April 19, 2012 at 8:04 am

    Nice post Elena. It’s truly very important to breathe properly while running. I’ll try to focus on the sound of my breath to be as quietly as possible.
    Thanks for the tips.

    • Elena Anne April 23, 2012 at 9:12 pm

      That’s a good point Nick. To focus on the sound of our breath. We should breathe normally to avoid short of breath. Thank you for visiting :)

  • David April 28, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Hi Elena, oxygen does play a vital role in the health of the body. More oxygen may also have the effect of increasing blood pH which causes more oxygen to be picked up from the lungs. So it is a kind of cycle.

    A well oxygenated body has a better chance to perform better and be healthy.

    • Elena Anne May 7, 2012 at 8:19 am

      Nice point David, didn’t know that oxygen affects blood pH. It is also, very vital for people that want to build muscles! Thank you for sharing

  • Mohsin Ali April 30, 2012 at 10:43 am

    I used to run without taking too much air in my lungs but now i realize that its my fault and i have to take air while running.

    • Elena Anne May 7, 2012 at 8:22 am

      Breath properly, and you will see that you can go on for more kilometers Mohsin. Thank you for sharing

  • Firewalls May 17, 2012 at 11:34 am

    For those who’s jogging is a hobby they need to aware for this information specially for those people fun of joining in fun run and jogging to for their diet process.

  • Felicia @ 888poker Leaderboard May 30, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Hi Elena,
    Thanks for the tips and techniques. The truth is I always find it hard finding the rhythm for my breathing when I’m jogging or running.

    • Elena Anne June 5, 2012 at 9:00 am

      Felicia, I think it’s a matter of time to find your rhythm of breathing. Count your steps and find a rhythm that make you feel comfortable.

  • Chu Nam July 15, 2012 at 8:21 am

    Nice post. I also choose run exercise for myself. And I love exercise for increase my health.
    I do it everyday.
    I get useful from this post.
    Waiting read more post.
    Thank Elena Anne

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