The average human takes roughly 1,000 breaths an hour, but did you know that your style of breathing could be having a direct impact on your sporting abilities? As the field of sporting grows with scientific and holistic discovery, new trends are appearing that can significantly help you improve your mental health, muscle mass, and make your workout even more effective. Of all these new discoveries, the way in which we breathe consistently comes out on top of the list of things you can do to help in any area of sport, fitness, and athleticism.
What’s Good, What’s Bad?
Generally speaking, there are two types of breathing. Good breathing can help in all areas of your general health, including cardiovascular systems, immune system, digestion, anxiety, and obviously your respiratory system. As exercise is largely an aerobic exertion, meaning that oxygen is required for you to complete your sets to the best of your ability, failure to balance out your oxygen to carbon dioxide intake can result in a detriment to your workout, and to your health. Unfortunately, a large number of us don’t naturally take the deep breaths required for exercise. We have a habit of taking shallow breaths, or sometimes even holding our breath while attempting to complete a set. So, how do you know whether your breathing is up to standard, or if you’re relying on bad habits?
Trying New Things
Many up-and-coming forms of popular exercise, such as pilates and yoga, concentrate their practice around their breath. Many long-term yogis and pilates enthusiasts follow the notion that breathing is the first and last act of every single human life, and therefore respecting the breath by learning how to use it is essential to any practice. Just like any form of exercise, breathing also requires movement of the body. You can consciously improve your breathing by taking deeper breaths, which typically result in your chest and shoulders visibly rising and falling at an increased rate. Meditation can also help you increase your breathing abilities, and can be practiced in the quiet of your own home.
How Will You Know If It’s Working?
The effects of increased or just proper breathing techniques transcend your physical abilities and can help everything from internal functioning to your overall mental health. Research has found that breathing in through the nose, and out through the mouth, can increase individual sporting performance by fifteen percent. Combining increased breathing with your warm-up exercises have been found to be the best method overall. During cardio, breathing from your stomach will help you to maintain your ability.
Protecting your health is key during exercise. Improving your breathing is the easiest means of maintaining your body’s internal functions while having an overall positive effect on your actual physical sporting and athletic abilities. Breathing properly might just be the missing link in your workout routine, and is the easiest new element to introduce. Talk to your trainer, instructor, or fitness specialist to find out what the best breathing regime is for you, and enhance your sporting performance today.
Written by Jennifer Dawson
Photo Credit: Samuel Owoyemi