How To Breathe Properly During Exercise

I was asked this question by my client today. “When should I inhale and exhale and does it even matter?” I told him that was a great question. Breathing properly during exercise is often overlooked or not quite understood.

The general rule of thumb is that we inhale at the beginning of the movement or at relaxation and exhale upon exertion. It seems simple enough but surprisingly, people tend to hold their breath or breathe in reverse during exercise.

Breathing properly is just as important as the exercise itself. This applies to other forms of exercise as well such as aerobic activities like swimming and running and non-aerobic exercises such as yoga, Pilates, weight-lifting and breathing exercises.

First, when we hold our breath it is known as a Valsalva Maneuver. This happens when we brace our spine for lifting but it is one way that the body increases intra-abdominal pressure by not allowing air to escape from the lungs. The VM can increase blood pressure, can cause dizziness, fainting and decreased blood flow to the heart. It is important to brace the spine but we need to learn how to breathe while doing so. It takes practice.

Why is proper breathing so important?

When you breathe properly you are allowing the working muscles to receive the oxygen that is needed to keep contracting. When you inhale, air travels through your