Breathing Exercises- How to Breathe During Exercise and Child Birth

Breathing Exercises- For Workouts and to Prepare for Child Birth

How do you perform breathing exercises to improve physical performance? Breathing is inevitable in life. This unconscious exchange of oxygen and carbon-di-oxide takes place for life, so breathe correctly to make life worthwhile. In this article, you will come across some basic information about the natural breathing process and plenty of breathing exercises you can perform to improve your strength, endurance, and overall performance.

What is breathing? The Biological Process.

Breathing takes place within the respiratory system. Our respiratory system comprises two right and left lungs in a cavity known as a thoracic cavity. The respiratory system also includes a muscular sheet called a diaphragm serving the trachea, windpipe, and bronchi. All these parts work together to perform breathing.

We divide the breathing process into two phases, i.e., inhaling and exhaling. When you take the air in, i.e., when the lungs inhale, the diaphragm contracts, and the muscles between the lungs also contract, which increases the thoracic cavity to allow the air to rush in and fill the lungs. The other phase is exhaling, where the lungs take the air out. Again, the diaphragm relaxes, and the thoracic cavity decreases, forcing the air to get out. As a result, the body takes oxygen in and expels carbon dioxide out.

Breathing with swimming

Though breathing comes naturally while performing certain activities, we need to take care of it to breathe correctly. Swimming is one such activity where you can’t breathe unconsciously.

In swimming, breathe and keep your face in the water, which is quite tricky. Maintain rhythmic breathing, i.e., how and when to breathe. You can’t swim if you breathe with your head up and your face out because your lower body will drop in this position, and it would be pretty difficult to drag it through the water. So, it would help if you learned how to breathe by keeping your face in the water.

There are ways how you can be comfortable breathing in water. One rule is to wear the goggles and look at the bottom. To maintain the rhythm, you must not hold your breath but keep exhaling it through your nose or mouth as soon as you inhale to avoid building up carbon dioxide in the lungs.

Bilateral breathing or three-stroke breathing is another way to breathe while swimming correctly. You must incorporate bilateral breathing in your workout to learn and practice it appropriately.

Breathing with running

Allow both your mouth and nose to inhale and exhale while running. It will make the breathing process easier and steady. When you breathe using your mouth and nose combined, your diaphragm takes maximum oxygen from the air and quickly expels the carbon dioxide.

Belly breathing or diaphragmatic breathing is the best breathing technique while running. The method works by engaging your diaphragm to create more space in the thoracic cavity, leading your lungs to collect more oxygen than normal breathing. Deep belly breathing improves focus and also reduces anxiety and fatigue.

Breathing exercises with strength training

If you are doing resistance training or strength training like weight lifting, the first thing is to remember to breathe correctly. It is difficult, but some tricks can make the exercise worthwhile.

We recommend breathing out or exhaling while performing the most challenging part of the exercise, like lifting weight and breathing in or inhaling when you have done so and returned to the initial position. However, it would be best never to hold your breath while training because this will make you dizzy and lightheaded.

Most exercises like weight lifting, deadlifts, biceps curls, rows, and shoulder presses need you to breathe with this technique.

Breathing techniques for childbirth

Childbirth is painful, and breathing needs you to learn and practice breathing techniques to reduce pain. An excellent way to reduce pain while childbirth is to focus on breathing. This will distract you from the pain you are encountering and maintain your oxygen supply.

Belly Breathing exercises

Belly breathing proves to be an effective technique in early labor hours. First, try deep belly breathing by taking a deep breath through your mouth or nose deep into your belly and how the abdomen moves outward. Now, breathe out all the air and how your stomach moves inward. Finally, practice the technique during contractions to reduce pain and experience better breathing.

Pant-pant blow breathing exercises

You can practice this technique when the contractions become intense. The pant-pant blow breathing style involves taking a deep breath and exhaling in two quick and long blows. It will help you breathe properly and focus more on breathing, not feeling intense pain.

How does breathing affect performance?

Breathing largely governs your physical performance. Proper breathing not only improves your athletic performance but also your quality of life. It affects all body functions and systems, like the nervous, respiratory, cardiovascular, and immunity systems. As a result, it improves your strength, endurance, stamina, and power and decreases stress, fatigue, anxiety, and muscle tension, allowing you to have a healthy life.

So, here are some best breathing exercises and activities that improve your physical or athletic performance and help you succeed in every field of life.

Best breathing exercises and activities

Here are some best breathing exercises and techniques that can effectively contribute to your breathing quality.

Alternate-Nostril breathing

In alternate-nostril breathing, you need to block off one side of the nose to breathe from the other side. Therefore, you must frequently switch between the two nostrils to practice this breathing in a seated position.

How to perform this type of breathing exercises

  • Close your eyes and look down
  • Press your right nostril on the index finger of your right hand and inhale the air from the left nostril.
  • Now close your left nostril and exhale from the right nostril
  • Now continue doing the same with the alternate nostril.
  • Do this exercise 10 times. However, if you feel dizzy, stop doing it and breathe normally.

Belly Breathing

Belly breathing is effective in a lot of ways. We recommend trying it for running, childbirth, and various other exercises and activities to reduce stress and anxiety. Twenty to thirty minutes of this exercise can bring a dramatic, positive change to your lifestyle.

How to perform this type of breathing exercises

  • What you need to do is to lie down or sit back and relax.
  • Place one hand on your upper chest and the other on your belly.
  • Take the air in through your nose so that you feel your belly moving outward.
  • Now, Exhale slowly so that your belly releases the air and moves inward. Make sure your hand on the chest remains the same throughout this process.

Box Breathing

We know box breathing as four-square breathing. This breathing technique is straightforward to practice, and you can start doing it anywhere. You can also practice this breathing pattern by playing a song and breathing with its rhythm.

How to perform this type of breathing exercises

  • Count till four and breathe out
  • Now hold till you count to four
  • Inhale till you count to four
  • Again, keep the air till you count to four
  • Now exhale to four and start again.

Pursed lip breathing

Pursed lip breathing is a technique you can practice anytime and anywhere to improve your breathing quality. We recommend this technique while doing various strength and resistance exercises. Do it at least five times a day to improve your breathing pattern.

How to perform this type of breathing exercises

  • Sit back and relax
  • Inhale slowly for two counts
  • Exhale from the pursed lips for four counts
  • Perform this activity at least ten times a sitting.

Breath focus technique

It’s a unique yet straightforward technique. To perform this activity, choose a word that makes you happy or relaxed. It could be any word that can help you focus. Start with a small session of 10 minutes and extend the duration as you move on.

How to perform this type of breathing exercises

  • Sit back and relax
  • Take normal breaths and deep breaths alternatively
  • Concentrate on what happens when you breathe normally and compare it to when you take a deep breath.
  • Practice deep breathing for a few minutes
  • Place your hand below the belly button, notice how it contracts, and relax when you take a deep breath.
  • Make a loud noise when you exhale.
  • Practice deep breathing, utter the focus word you have kept yourself calm, and imagine something good about it.
  • Imagine that you inhale peace while inhaling and exhale all your exhaustion and frustration while breathing out.

Lion’s breath

Lion’s breath is a widespread breathing practice in yoga that helps you release tension and relaxes your chest and face.

How to perform this type of breathing exercises

  • Sit back on your heels or cross your legs in a comfortable position.
  • Press your palms alongside your knees with your fingers.
  • Open your eyes and inhale slowly through your nose
  • Open your mouth wide and stick out your tongue, bringing it to your chin.
  • Now exhale, contract your throat muscles, and make the “ha.”
  • Practice this technique three to four times in a session.

Equal breathing

Equal breathing is another breathing practice in yoga. You can do this exercise while performing other activities, too, once you get used to it. This exercise ensures that your duration of inhaling and exhaling becomes the same. It improves balance and makes breathing steady and smooth.

The exercise is simple, and you need to choose a breath length you are comfortable with. Make sure the distance is not too difficult to carry out the breathing process many times.

How to perform this type of breathing exercises

  • Sit back in a comfortable position.
  • Inhale and exhale through your nose
  • Inhale and count to the length you choose
  • Now exhale and count, ensuring that both inhale and exhale are in even duration. You can pause while breathing and use a focus word while doing this exercise.
  • Practice the exercise for at least 5 to 10 minutes.

Resonant or coherent breathing

The exercise aims to inhale and exhale for a count of 5 at least five times in a minute. This exercise is perfect for your heart and increases your heart rate variability. We also know it reduces depression and anxiety when combined with other activities.

How to perform this type of breathing exercises

  • Inhale and count till 5
  • Now exhale for a count of 5
  • Repeat the breathing pattern for a few minutes

Sitali breath

Sitali breath is another yoga practice that improves breathing quality, reduces anxiety, and reduces body temperature. Next, choose a safe and hygienic place to sit.

How to perform this type of breathing exercises

  • Sit back and relax
  • Stick out your tongue
  • Inhale through your mouth
  • And breathe out from your nose
  • Do this exercise for 5 minutes

Humming bee breath (bhramari)

The humming bee breathing exercise is also a yoga practice. This exercise involves making a humming sound, which we know as humming bee breath. The movement calms you down and relieves frustration, anxiety, and anger.

How to perform this type of breathing exercises

  • Sit back and relax
  • Close your eyes and place your fingers on the tragus cartilage of your ears
  • Inhale and while exhaling, press the tragus cartilage gently
  • In between, keep your mouth close and make a humming sound

Wrapping Up Breathing Exercises

So, this was some basic information about breathing and the exercises which can help you improve your quality of life. All these exercises help to regulate your body effectively and improve overall athletic performance. So, what are you waiting for? Start a healthy session today, and let us know how it positively changes your lifestyle.

Related Articles

We are always working on something new! Signup to get notified when we launch.
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.