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May 2016

Improve Your Exercising with Right Breathing

There seems to be quite a lot of confusion recently over the correct way to inhale while exercising such as in running or jogging.

According to the text Physiology of Sport and Physical Exercise by Wilmore and Costill the need to breathe rises in direct proportion to the intensity of work. A mild workload such as brisk walking prompts enlargement of the lungs and deeper breathing. As the work becomes harder, the pace of breathing also increases.

With the exception of conditions like asthma, breathing should not limit your ability to run or carry out training exercises, even at very challenging levels. The quantity of air entering the lungs is not the trouble; it is the body’s inability to grab and use adequate oxygen to meet the increased demand that makes you out of breath (inspired air comprises roughly 20 percent oxygen while expired air has about 16 percent).

Many beginning runners have been misguided to believe that the correct way to inhale is to inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. While it is true that air is dryer and cooler when inhaled by the mouth, this should not become an issue unless you are particularly liable tophysical exercise induced asthma.

I believe that the nose breathing method causes self-induced asthma, since inhaling through the nose severely limits the quantity of air that can be delivered to the lungs. I suspect breathing this way has an unfavourable impact on running performance related to asthma, especially as speed increases.

Runners should be inhaling and exhaling by both nose AND mouth to a fixed pattern or rhythm. According to one particular well-respected coach and author, most elite runners breathe to a 2-2 rhythm. They inhale in while taking 2 steps and out while taking another 2 steps. At an easy pace they might use to a 3-3 rhythm instead.

2-2 regular breathing rhythm

Left foot– begin exhale right foot- continue exhale left foot- start inhale right foot- carry on inhaling.

One problem with this method is the continued cycle of inhaling or exhaling on the same footstep, Some professionals and coaches think this could lead to side stitches. If you are one of the unfortunate runners prone to side aches, try from time to time switching which footstep you breathe out on, or even modify your breathing rhythm to breathe out on alternating right and left footfalls. That may get a little difficult to do since you will have to adapt an uneven 3-2 or 4-3 breathing pattern (breathing out for more counts than breathing in).

3-2 breathing cycle

Left foot- begin breathing in right foot, carry on breathing out left foot, begin exhale right foot, carry on exhaling left foot – carry on breathing out, right foot- start breathing in.

According to some university track coaches, uneven breathing cycles are effective because air pressure in the lung is lower than that of the atmosphere, causing air to rush in fast. Take some more time to breathe out, since leaving residual carbon dioxide in the lungs can very much get in the way of delivery of oxygen on the next breath in.

It will help if you try out your breathing pattern while walking before you begin running, either on the treadmill or outdoors. Carry the method over to a lazy jog and then scale up to a faster pace of exercising.

Breathing Tips To Help You Run Better

 Inadequate oxygen can lead to reduced performance,cramps and early fatigue. Remember that, running especially marathon running or jogging is an aerobic exercise, hence getting in as much oxygen should be your main goal. For sprinters, it’s more of getting that energy reserve to fire your way to the finishing line. Practice good breathing techniques earlier on to avoid bad habits and ensure your runs are more enjoyable and comfortable.

Let’s have a look at these tips.

Breathing Tip #1 – Good Posture
Having bad postures can significantly cause the amount of air going into your lungs. An example is slouching or bending forward. Slouching or bending forward can have an impact on breathing because it compresses the chest wall and makes it more difficult for your lungs to expand. That is why in my previous article on body posture, keeping an upright torso is important. Standing upright helps get more oxygen into your lungs.

Breathing Tip #2 – Mouth & Nose
There is some debate if breathing through the mouth or nose is better. Breathing through the nose can be helpful in winter as your body warms the air that enters your lungs. Breathing through the mouth can dry up all your mucous membranes and make you feel very uncomfortable in the mouth and throat. However, breathing through the mouth helps relaxes your facial muscles. Generally speaking, using both your mouth and nose to breathe allows more oxygen to enter your lungs. Having more oxygen helps to get in more oxygen into your system which is what your muscles really needs during an aerobic exercise like running.

Breathing Tip #3 – Deep Breathing
Before running, warm up by going through some breathing drills such as deep breathing and diaphragmatic breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing is also known as belly or abdominal breathing. A good way to think about it is to think of your belly breathing and not your chest breathing. Deep breathing helps fill the lower part of your lungs which allow better gaseous exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.

A good way to start practicing this is to lie on your back on the ground flat and take in a deep breath. Inhale as much as you can and watch your stomach rise/expand. Hold your breath for 5 seconds before blowing it out. As you exhale, watch as your stomach falls. Diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing is a much healthier way to take in as much oxygen for your running routines.

Breathing Tip #4 – Your Breathing Rhythm
Another important tip to remember is to monitor your breathing rate. Different runners may have different breathing to step rates. Some may breathe in after 3 steps while others may breathe in after 2 steps of running. There is no rule to this but something to bear in mind is to be consistent. Find a breathing rhythm that is consistent and comfortable for you. Another way to do this is to breathe according to the beat of a song on your iPod, if you can’t find a rhythm. But ayvoid breathing too rapidly or it will tire you out.

Breathing might be a very natural thing to do but surprisingly most runners don’t know how to breathe the right way. Master these 4 tips and you are on your way to be a much better runner than before.

Toning Treadmill Workouts

  Treadmills are one of the best cardio equipment around. At the turn of the switch all you need to do is either walk or run and you’re on your way to a great fat-burning session. Add in some music and you’re on the road to boosting yourmetabolism for one great aerobic exercise workout. Treadmill workouts are effective for cardiovascular fitness and since they can be done at the comfort of your own home, treadmills are among the most widely purchased fitness equipment in the market. Working out on a treadmill has been widely acknowledged to be effective for melting away those extra pounds, but an oft-asked question is this: Can a treadmill be used for toning the muscles in the body? For a machine that’s been touted as commonly used for cardiovascular fitness, the answer may come as a bit of a pleasant surprise.

Yes, toning with a treadmill is possible. It is especially beneficial for shaping the legs– from glutes to quads to thighs to calves. To get great-looking glutes, try doing a treadmill workout by warming up your body while walking for about five minutes. Then, at an incline of about five percent, walk for seven minutes and run for three minutes. Do this for about five times. End your session with a cool down exercise by setting the treadmill at no-incline and walking for about five minutes. Keep your quads looking lean and mean by simulating a hill running workout at five percent incline on the treadmill. Incorporate 90 second sprints into any of your treadmill workouts to give your thighs and quads that toned look. For stronger calves that can kick butt, set the treadmill at a steep incline (what you are most comfortable with) and do brisk walking at that particular slope for at least fifteen minutes. This should really tighten those calves to give you the shapeliest legs possible.

The above exercises on toning with a treadmill are obviously meant for lower body workouts. What about for the upper body? Can the treadmill do the same? Since there is no provision in a treadmill for an upper body toning regimen, you’re just going to have to get a little bit more creative. You can still experience the treadmill’s toning benefits by bringing free weights, such as three to five pound dumbbells, as you run or walk during your lower bodyexercises. This requires a bit more stamina, endurance and more balance on your part, but the results are well worth it. If you are a beginner in treadmill training workouts, it would be advisable to focus on your running or walking regimen first before attempting to incorporate weights into your routine. Make sure that you have a good pair of cross-trainers on so you won’t slip from the treadmill easily and get injured. Observe good posture and fluid strides to maintain good balance and obtain the maximum benefits form toning with a treadmill.

Water Aerobic Routines

 The appeal of aqua aerobics for fitness enthusiasts lies in the fact that the water reduces any risk of injury. It limits stress on the joints and enables exercisers to do more repetitions of a certain routine. Since it’s a form of resistance training, water exercises promote the building of lean muscle mass and developing muscle strength. And because the water minimizes the impact of gravity to the joints, water aerobics for lower body strength is one of the ideal forms of exercise to be performed in a pool. Power jumps, when done on water, greatly increases lower body strength and promotes power, agility and balance.

Here’s how to perform water aerobics for lower body strength:

First, begin in the shallow portion of the pool. Ideally, the water level should be no higher than your underarm and no lower than your ribcage. Warm up your body for about eight minutes by jogging around the pool and doing kicks, jumping jacks, strides and knee lifts. Make sure that you give your quadriceps, calf-muscles, hamstrings a long and drawn-out stretch. Do these for a good 10 minutes

Do a tuck jump. While you’re standing, keep your knees and ankles together as you pull them up your chest. Go back to your standing position. Incorporate some arm movement this time. As you raise your legs to your knees, let your arms lengthen and as it bends, bend your arms at the elbows.

After a tuck jump, do a frog jump. With your toes, knees and thighs slightly turned out, bend your arms in a diamond shape close to your chest. As you lift your legs up mimicking frog legs with the knees pointing to each side at the highest point in the jump, push your arms down to the hips. Return to the starting position.

Follow this with a scissors jump. In a standing position, let one leg move straight forward and the other directly behind the body, alternating the front and back movements. The hands should move alternately as well.

Do heel lifts. Stand and keep the knees and heels close together. As you jump, lift the heels towards your butt, no higher than the knees. Keep your arms extended away from your body, keeping it at the height of your shoulders but slightly rounded at the elbows. Pull your arms down to your hips when you lift your legs. You can then end the lower body strengthening session by kicking your legs and jogging for two to three minutes.

Finish the whole routine with some quality stretches to flex your quads, hamstrings, hip flexors and calves deeply.

Water exercises for lower body strength are a great alternative to traditional aerobic exercises that pose great riskfor injury to the joints and strain on the muscles. For those with previous injuries that make traditional jogging, jumping and leaping on land potentially dangerous, aqua exercises are a better alternative. By performing these routines on water, you reap the benefits of stronger legs and thighs and stronger heart muscles as well.