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7 Breathing Tips That Can Be Used During Rehab

Breathing is just about as vital to workouts as workouts are to your health. Be it simple nose breathing or an assortment of expert breathing exercises, there is little disagreement amongst experts or doubt among the masses about the benefits of it. Despite bearing such importance, we often pay such little attention to it and take it for granted that we don’t even realize we’re doing it improperly. We don’t even realize there is a proper way to do it. The amount and quality of air, and thus oxygen, greatly contributes to your overall workout and your body’s endurance, among other things. Breathing right can not only improve our stamina but has also been proven to improve our body’s ability to burn fat.

Outside the world of working out, but still within the world of healthier living and fitness, breathing right is just as crucial. It was recently suggested that breathing really can improve our body’s posture. This is due to the fact that the muscles which help regulate our breathing also assist us in holding an upright posture. Keeping a good posture, in turn, helps us breathe better by freeing up more space in our lung cavity and giving our diaphragm the flexibility it needs. this information is particularly handy when doing exercises where we’re either standing, or sitting, or crouching, such as squats or lunges, etc. so, although the relationship between the two is a correlation, it is extremely vital and hence both need to be paid careful attention to.

Breathing correctly greatly helps your recovery as well by allowing you to relax and be patient vs. rushing and aggravating your injury. Hence, whether you’re lifting weights, running tracks, or simply doing squats, using the right tactic to work your diaphragm can significantly improve your performance. Here are 7 tips to ensure that you don’t compromise on the quality of your inhaling and exhaling while working out:

Inhale through your nose:

Inhaling through your nose guarantees that the air goes to your belly area to ensure maximum diaphragm expansion- the diaphragm being the main muscle that gets used for this function. A common mistake most people make is that they breathe by only allowing air to fill the chest cavity. This is wrong in the way that the diaphragm is not expanded to its full capacity and the breaths are shallow. So to utilize the diaphragm in the way it’s meant to be used would be to practice belly breathing, using your nose to inhale makes this easier. It also helps us monitor the amount of air going in. It further allows for cleaner and more filtered air to enter our airways, thanks to our inbuilt filters in the form of nasal hair. Breathing through your nose also warms up the air before it hits your lungs. This may not be a necessity on normal occasions but can have dire consequences when your body and all its organs are heated up while you’re working out.

Exhale through your mouth:

Science has made us aware of the fact that we only let out about 70% of the air we inhale. This makes the amount of fresh air to enter our bodies significantly lower. So, breathing out from our mouth can help us blow out all the air from our lungs as this takes less effort but gives more control. There is a proper way to do this too. Leave your lips only slightly ajar, not too parted as that allows too much dust inside, and exhale as if blowing on something. This allows us to make use of the stabilizing properties of the inhale-exhale maneuver, without causing a major spike in pressure.

Inhale when going down, exhale when going up:

It helps to remember to inhale in the less arduous parts of the exercise and exhale while exerting yourself. This improves your core strength and tones your abdominal muscles. So, for example, during sit-ups, we should inhale when we’re going into a squat, and exhale as we contract our muscles to stand up. Similar inhale-exhale patterns are used while doing crunches and even weight lifts; in while bringing the bar down, out when lifting it up and away from yourself. By focusing on inhaling and exhaling at the right moments, you ensure that you never stop breathing, which is one of the worst things you could do to your body while working out (we’ll find out why shortly). But we mustn’t become so indulged that in our attempt to regulate our breathing, we end up compromising on its quality.

Avoid shallow breaths:

Always focus on longer and deeper breaths. Shallow and shorter breaths give you the illusion you are working too hard, resulting in us tiring sooner, and also preventing enough fresh air from filling your lungs, causing a shortage of oxygen in our blood. On the other hand, slow breathing gives us a sense of tranquility, reduces our stress and gives us the ability to go on longer by increasing our stamina.

Don’t hold your breath:

Voluntarily or involuntarily we often hold our breath while working out, it just happens instinctively for most of us. This is known as the Valsalva maneuver and can result in a shortage of oxygen being supplied to the brain. That, in turn, leads to dizziness, fatigue, a peak in blood pressure, breathlessness, etc., so it should be avoided at all costs. Pay attention to your breathing and make sure that it doesn’t stop.

Use your pulse rate as a guide:

If you subtract your age from 220, you get the upper pulse rate for you during workouts. Now you have to be sure to stay below this number as anything above this level would be too strenuous on your heart, and thus bad in the long run. To be even more accurate and for added precision, we might use a heart-rate monitor, the ones easily available online or in medical stores to time our breaths in tune with our pulse rate.

Try talking while working out:

One way to ensure that your breathing techniques are working is to try and form sentences while you work out. If you can do so with minimal effort, you’re doing well. If not, it means your body is lacking oxygen and you need to modify your routine or slow down enough to give your body a chance to recuperate from the lack of oxygen. This can be done by slowly reducing the pace of your activity with long shallow breaths. Once you feel like you can speak easily, you might return to your normal pace but with a better breathing pattern this time.

It might take you a little time to get your body and mind to relearn something it’s been doing since you first opened your eyes, but it isn’t impossible.  Once you get familiar with the basics, take the time to carefully learn what muscles to control and how to control them, you’re well on your way to more pleasant and fruitful days at the gym and during rehabilitation with one of our physical therapists. It might help if you could take the time to add more yoga and meditation to master the art of mindful breathing, and then apply what you learn there to your rehabilitation program.  With a little practice and dedication, you’ll find yourself being able to work out for longer hours without breaks.