Did you know that breathing the right way is the key to weight loss? It may sound silly, but it’s 100% true!
Correctly breathing is very important simply because it ensures that you fill your body with the oxygen it needs to function. Without oxygen, your muscles cannot move, your brain stops working, and the cells in your body begin to die. When you inhale deeply and fill your lungs with air, it ensures that your blood is oxygenated–feeding oxygen to all of the muscles, tissue, and cells in your body.
Everyone breathes, but not everyone breathes correctly. Some people actually have no idea how to breathe the right way, meaning that they run out of oxygen part-way into their workouts. Correctly breathing helps to increase your metabolic processes, giving you the energy you need to get through your workout.
Below you’ll learn the proper techniques for breathing, not only to be more effective in your workouts, but also to help you to lose weight!
General Breathing Techniques
Throughout the day, focus on breathing using the following technique:
- Inhale slowly through your nose, breathing in for a count of 3 to 5 seconds. Feel your chest and belly expand with the air.
- Slowly exhale through your mouth, breathing out for 3 to 5 seconds. Your body will deflate, and compress your belly with your diaphragm muscles to ensure that all of the air is expelled from your lungs.
This will help you to inhale as much oxygen and exhale as much carbon monoxide as possible, ensuring that your blood is oxygenated effectively.
Breathing for Cardio
When you are running, cycling, or training on the elliptical machine, you will need to regulate your breathing. If you start to pant as you do your workout, you may end up tiring out far too quickly.
Instead, follow the breathing techniques below:
- Inhale through your nose, doing a 3-count in time with the beat of your heart.
- Exhale by blowing through your mouth, doing a 2-count in time with the beat of your heart.
Do this, and you’ll control your rate of breathing. It will allow you to take in a lot of air at once, and you will be able to oxygenate your blood during your intense cardio session.
The reason you follow a 3-2 breathing pattern is to reduce the strain on your liver. It’s odd, but the truth is that if you always breathe in when your right foot strikes the ground, it can place unnecessary stress on the liver. When you switch up the breathing pattern, you avoid the stitch in your side and keep your liver working well.
Breathing for Strength Training
If you don’t breathe properly during your strength training, you increase your risk of injury. Holding your breath while training can lead to muscle damage, not to mention reduce oxygenation of your blood. Your muscles will already be sorely lacking oxygen, so to increase the oxygen deprivation will lead to increase lactic acid production–which in turn leads to muscle fatigue.
To breathe properly:
- Inhale on the eccentric portion of the exercise, when your muscles are doing less work (when lowering the weight to your chest, when lowering the dumbbell after a curl, or when dropping into the squat).
- Exhale forcefully on the concentric portion of the exercise, when your muscles are full engaged (when you are pressing the weight upward for a bench press, when curling the dumbbell to your chest, or when pushing back up from the squat).
Breathe like this, and you’ll reduce your risk of injury and give your muscles all the blood they need.