Breathing 101 for Gym-Goers: How to Get the Most Out of Your Workout

The Exhale
November 16, 2022
5 min read

You’re in the gym, working hard to meet your fitness goals. You’re sweating, your heart is pounding, and you feel the burn in your muscles. But are you breathing properly?

We all know that breathing is important. After all, it's an essential function that keeps us alive. But did you know that proper breathing techniques are also essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle? That's right—the way you breathe can have a profound impact on your physical and mental health, especially when it comes to exercise. Who would have thought that something as simple as breathing could have such a profound impact on your workout? Let's take a closer look at how proper breathing can maximize your performance in the gym, help you reach your fitness goals, and minimize the risk of injury and fatigue.

You’re in the gym, working hard to meet your fitness goals. Learn how to breathe properly while you workout.

So, what exactly is breathwork and why is it important?

Breathwork is an ancient practice that has been used for centuries to promote healing and relaxation. When we focus on our breath, it allows us to tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest and digest functions in the body. This can help to reduce stress levels and promote muscle recovery.

Breathing correctly is essential to any workout, whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned pro. In order to get the most out of your time at the gym, it’s important to focus on your breathing. Many people make the mistake of holding their breath while they work out, which can actually lead to dizziness, lightheadedness and even fainting. Breathing correctly will help you stay focused and energized throughout your entire workout.

When you work out, your body needs more oxygen than usual. Oxygen is essential for your cells to create energy. When you breathe correctly, you get more oxygen to your cells. This means that you can work out at a higher intensity for a longer period of time before feeling fatigued. It also helps to prevent lactic acid buildup, which can lead to muscle fatigue and soreness. In addition, deep belly breathing helps to activate our sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the "fight-or-flight" response. This response triggers the release of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which give us an extra boost of energy when we need it most. Deep belly breathing also helps to increase blood flow and stimulate the release of endorphins - both of which can help improve your overall mood and sense of well-being. So, if you're looking to take your workout to the next level, make sure you're breathing properly.

In addition to helping you exercise longer and harder, proper breathing also helps improve mental focus. When you focus on taking deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, it helps clear your mind and allows you to focus on the task at hand. This can be particularly helpful when lifting weights or during other challenging exercises.

Breathing correctly not only helps you perform better in the moment, but it can also help you reach your long-term fitness goals. For instance, if you're trying to lose weight, proper breathing can help increase your metabolism and burn more calories. If you're trying to gain muscle mass, proper breathing can help deliver more oxygen and nutrients to your muscles so they can recover from your workouts more quickly. And if you're trying to improve your overall cardiovascular health, proper breathing can help lower your heart rate and blood pressure. No matter what your fitness goals may be, incorporating proper breathing techniques into your routine is sure to help you achieve them.

Breathing can help you minimize the risk of injury

In addition to helping you perform better and reach your fitness goals, proper breathing can also help minimize the risk of injury. That's because deep belly breathing helps improve our balance and coordination by activating our proprioceptive system—the part of our nervous system that provides us with information about where our bodies are in space. This is especially important when exercising, as it can help prevent falls and other accidents. In addition, deep belly breathing helps improve our posture by aligning our spine and pelvis—which can also help reduce the risk of injuries like back pain or strains/sprains. So if you want to stay safe while working out, make sure you're taking deep breaths!

Simple breathwork in the gym can result in:

• Improved Performance: When you breathe properly while lifting weights, you'll be able to work out longer and harder without getting tired as quickly. That's because your muscles will be receiving the oxygen they need to function properly.

• Reduced Risk of Injury: deep breathing helps relax your muscles and improve your range of motion. This can help reduce your risk of injury while lifting weights or performing other exercises.

• Increased Concentration: Proper breathing helps improve blood flow to your brain, which can in turn help you concentrate better on what you're doing. This is especially important when lifting heavy weights or performing complex exercises.

• Enhanced Endurance: Oxygen is essential for energy production. So by breathing deeply and getting more oxygen into your system, you'll be able to exercise for longer periods of time without becoming fatigued as quickly.

• Greater Strength Gains: When combined with other factors such as proper form and adequate rest, deep breathing can help you increase muscle strength more effectively since your muscles will be better oxygenated.

You’re in the gym, working hard to meet your fitness goals. Learn how to breathe properly while you workout.

Peak athletes use breathwork to improve performance

There are a number of different breathing techniques that athletes use to achieve different results. One common method is rhythmic or patterned breathing, which involves inhaling and exhaling at even intervals. This type of breathing has been shown to reduce heart rate and blood pressure while also increasing stroke volume (the amount of blood ejected from the left ventricle during each heartbeat).

Another is to exhale for twice as long as you inhale. For example, if you inhale for four counts, exhale for eight. This will help you take full advantage of your lungs' capacity and ensure that your muscles are getting the oxygen they need.

One more common technique that is used is hyperventilation followed by voluntary apnea—essentially taking very deep breaths followed by holding your breath for as long as possible. This allows athletes to get rid of any carbon dioxide buildup in their bodies and take in as much oxygen as possible before oxygen debt begins to set in.

This article from Self gives an in-depth look at which breathing techniques to use during which types of exercises, so you can plan accordingly based on your focus for the day: ,

Proper breathing techniques have a profound effect on multiple areas of daily life, including endurance and pain management. Such a simple practice can greatly improve your mental and physical health with just a few minutes a day.

Here are a few quick simple tips on how to breathe properly during your next workout that you can implement today:

1. inhale through your nose, and exhale through your mouth

2. breathe deeply and evenly

3. focus on taking long, slow breaths

4. try to breathe from your diaphragm, or stomach, rather than your chest

5. if you start to feel dizzy or lightheaded, stop what you’re doing and take a few deep breaths

6. avoid holding your breath while working out. If you find yourself doing this, slow down or         take a break until you can catch your breath.

Following these six simple tips will help you make the most out of your workout and avoid any unwanted side effects. More detailed instructions on diaphragmatic breathing can be found here: , Stay focused and energized, and don’t forget to inhale and exhale. Your body will thank you for it.

You’re in the gym, working hard to meet your fitness goals. Learn how to breathe properly while you workout.

Breathing is an essential function that we often take for granted. But the truth is that how we breathe can have a profound impact on our physical and mental health—especially when it comes to exercise. Proper breathing provides more oxygen to our muscles, helps prevent lactic acid buildup, activates our sympathetic nervous system, and can even help increase our metabolism. In addition, proper breathing helps improve our balance and coordination, posture, and cardiovascular health—all of which minimize the risk of injury. So next time you head to the gym or go for a run, make sure you focus on your breathing and you’ll be sure to see results in no time!

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The Exhale