Breathing 101: Exercise, Exertion and Exhaling

Working out hard can take your breath away, but it doesn’t have to. When you learn proper breathing while exercising, not only do you not feel as fatigued, but it can additionally help you burn more fat! When you’re not conscious of your breathing, it’s easy for the breathing pattern to become erratic as you exercise. A simple weighted move, can feel harder to accomplish, and a small one mile jog can feel like a marathon.  The solution is to understand the need your body has for more oxygen during physical activity.

You’ve been breathing since the day you were born, so its something you’ve probably taken for granted. However, simple things can become complicated, when starting to exert energy in any activity. The worst thing you can do at this point, is to let your breathing become erratic, or to hold your breath.  “When you hold you breath, the energy in your cells plunges and you feel fatigued during your workout way before you should,” says Belisa Vranich, Psy.D., creator of the OXYGEN breathing class at WILLSPACE in NYC.  Giving yourself regular and consistent breaths let’s your body know everything is going fine, and to continue the workout. Pace your breathing with your running or jogging, with experts suggesting a 2:2 tempo (2 steps left and 2 steps right, or think left step, right step, left step, right step:breath out). That way as your pace gets slower or faster, your breathing matches.  When doing strength training, experts suggest the best point to breath out is during the exertion part of an exercise.  Exertion, can be best described as the point you are using the most force, or the hardest part of the movement.  In the example of a chest press, you would then breath out during the push part, and inhale during the retraction back. In an example of back row, exhaling would happen when pulling the weight. Always exhale forcefully through the mouth, to expel as much waste breath as possible. That way you can naturally inhale with a good abundance of oxygen to feed your cells, and keep up on that workout.