I’d enjoy running if only I could breathe!

Breathing is second nature for most of us - until we start to run, particularly beginners who may say they’d enjoy running if only they could get their breathing right! It can be even more difficult during the winter when inhaling cold external air can feel quite uncomfortable.

 Breathe through BOTH your mouth and nose

If you are new to running/exercise try to breathe through BOTH your mouth and your nose, this way you more than double the amount of oxygen that goes into your lungs and then onto your muscles. Try to take deep, controlled breaths, inhale for the count of 2, hold then exhale for 2, or 3:3 if that is too challenging, over time you will get into a rhythm. You can practise by lying on the ground, placing one hand on your chest and one on your stomach, without tightening your abdominal muscles, try to push the air right down to your pelvic floor, your stomach should rise rather than the upper part of your chest.

Learn how to breathe

Deeper breathing is preferable, as shallow breaths only access a small part of the lungs and is more like panting, this is inefficient and can cause you to feel faint and anxious. New runners working on their fitness, or those with respiratory conditions such as asthma should take a bit more time warming up, especially in cold weather.

Warm-up properly

Allow your body time to transition from inactivity to activity by spending a bit longer on your warm-up, so you are mentally and physically ready for running. This might also be a good time to focus on your form, are your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears, are your fists soft rather than clenched? Upper body tension can hamper your breathing. Practice this at various points during the day.

Even strong runners should be working on their breathing

For more experienced runners, if they are unable to fully empty your lungs, it can affect how you hold your hips glutes and core whilst running.  If you are running for long periods, it can even start to affect your gait.

11 February, 2020

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