Proper Breathing Techniques for Cardio Workouts

Cardio Workouts can be strenuous activities, increasing your heart-rate and causing you to breathe faster and harder than you might be comfortable with at times. However, breathing is an essential part of life (to say the least!), so you must be able to work through that heavy breathing if you want to be able to use your cardio workouts to their full effect. There are methods and techniques available that will allow you to better control your breathing pattern and maximize your cardio workout for better results.

Avoid Shallow Breathing

When doing cardio-intensive workouts, your heart-rate should increase naturally as you build up the rate of your repetitions. However, to maximize the amount of oxygen that is being disbursed into your blood, you must try to maintain a regular pattern of deep breaths as much as possible. The faster you go, the harder your breathing will be and, subsequently, the shallower each breath will become. Therefore, when building intensity, be sure to take baby steps.

Your capacity for endurance will increase over time, allowing you to build more intense segments into your workout, but you must take this one step at a time. Maybe start with brisk walking or a low intensity setting on the elliptical or stationary bike. Then, as you grow more accustomed to the pacing, increase the intensity. Doing this will allow you ability to increase the depth of your breathing, even as you increase the intensity of your workout.

Abdominal Breathing

The muscles in your abdomen provide you with your natural breathing apparatus. These days, too many tend to use these muscles to contract their midsections in order to make them appear thinner. However, a natural rising and falling motion of the abdomen is absolutely essential to breathing effectively. Make sure that you’re working these muscles in and out as you breathe. Doing so will assure that you’re getting the most out of every breath.

Become Aware of Your Breathing

Runners do this all the time with great effect: They measure their breathing with their strides, usually taking in air over three steps and releasing over two. Being aware of your breathing will assure that you’re taking in enough oxygen to keep you going. It also provides an overall rhythm to your workout. Some runners liken this to the soothing and self-centering effects of yoga breathing techniques, allowing a level of focus and awareness that they wouldn’t have otherwise. An added level of focus can definitely come in handy in the middle of a 60-minute treadmill session.

Practice

To some this might sound a little redundant. After all, we breathe all the time. However, breathing effectively enough to be able to tackle a six-mile run can be a difficult challenge. You need to work the muscles that control your breathing in order to be able to pull it off. So, take some time out of your day (you can do it right at your desk) and inhale slowly and deeply, filling your lungs to their full capacity. These exercises will not only improve your capacity, but can be great stress reducers as well.

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