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 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.
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.
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.