THE ROLE OF EFFICIENT BREATHING IN EXERCISE
The effects of good breathing technique play an important role when undertaking any form of physical activity, from pilates to triathlon.
At some stage you’ve more than likely suffered from muscle fatigue or felt short of breath and light-headed whilst doing aerobic exercise; chances are you could be breathing incorrectly.
There are a number of benefits to your health from the use of an efficient deep breathing technique such as improving circulation, lowering blood pressure, slowing respiration and decreasing stress. Deep breathing improves concentration and will increase the flow of oxygen into the blood. This increase supports energy production within the muscles and therefore improves athletic performance.
There are four stages of breathing -- inhaling, full pause, exhaling and empty pause. Breathing in this way will increase the oxygen in the blood, reducing fatigue and helping to keep you more alert.
Good breathing technique should come from your diaphragm. Despite the fact that we were born using our diaphragms efficiently, as adults the majority of us fail to utilise the muscle to it’s full potential. Instead, we create a shallow breathing technique by using the muscles in the upper body to expand the chest.
As the primary muscle of respiration, the diaphragm is located between your thoracic and abdominal cavities. As you inhale it contracts and compresses the abdominal muscles, allowing the chest cavity to open up more, thus increasing the amount of air that can enter into the lower part of the lungs. As you exhale, the diaphragm releases upward, back to its dome shape, helping to push the air out of the lungs as they contract. If you don’t utilise the diaphragm, you cannot filling the lungs to capacity.
Pay special attention to the breath in your lower back to ensure that you're breathing deeply and you’ll reap the benefits of efficient respiration.