Breathing During Exercise

Increase your comfort level and endurance while working out

woman lifting weightsWhat's so hard about breathing? That simple, natural function seems easy for most of us when we're at work, at home or socializing. But when we step into our favorite sneakers and head out for physical activity, some of us get breathing all wrong.


Breathing the right way while you work out can increase your comfort level and endurance. That pays off big in helping you achieve the results you want.

These tips will help your breathing—and exercising—go more easily:

  • Breathe slowly and deeply. Inhale for two seconds and exhale for four (or for two times as long as you inhale). This helps bring oxygen into your body.
  • Inhale though your nose while keeping your mouth closed. This warms and moistens the air you're breathing, which helps keep your bronchial tubes from becoming irritated.
  • In cold weather, wear a face mask or wrap a scarf across your nose and mouth, to keep inhaled air warm and moist.
  • When lifting weights or performing other resistance or strength-training exercises, don't hold your breath. Holding your breath can cause your blood pressure to change and increase pressure inside your eyes. It also reduces oxygen to the tissues of your body and increases carbon dioxide in the bloodstream.
  • You want to exhale during the hard part of the movement (when you lift the weight or push it out) and inhale during the easy part (relaxing your muscles or lowering the weight).
  • If you're bothered by pollen or dust, pursue indoor activities on days when counts of those irritants are high.
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