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April 06, 2015

Breathing tips for a better workout

You've been 'doing it all wrong'

Breathe in. Breathe out. Oxygen in. Carbon dioxide out.

You're doing it as you read this, but experts say you're doing it wrong.

Breathing isn't something you necessarily think about on a regular basis. It's just something you do instinctively to live. When you probably do pay attention to breathing is when you exercise.

Noam Tamir, founder of TS Fitness in New York City, broke down three examples of "inefficient breathing" and three tips for improving it with the Daily Burn.

INEFFICIENT BREATHING

The first is chest breathing, or breathing through the top of the chest rather than the belly. This mishap forces the body to rely on other muscles, which can cause neck and shoulder tension, as well as weaken the diaphragm. A weak diaphragm will tire easily during exercise.

The second mistake you could be making is shallow breathing, Tamir said. When you resort to short, quick breaths, you're making your body work harder to get the oxygen it needs.

Third, Tamir said your breathing could be out of rhythm. Erratic breathing can make it difficult to focus on the task at hand.

TECHNIQUES TO IMPROVE BREATHING

According to Tamir, anyone can improve their breathing with some basic awareness.

First, he suggests deep breathing exercises, which can be done from your work desk. This technique can help to relieve stress.

Tamir's second tip is to focus on your breath during your warm-up routine. 

By focusing on your breath prior to exercising, you’re reinforcing proper breathing mechanics before any heavy lifting or HIIT takes place. The result: Less huffing and puffing once the exertion commences, leading to a more efficient workout.

During your workout, he recommends two techniques: the Valsalva Maneuver and bracing.  See the Daily Burn for more on each breathing technique.


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