New Year, New Exercise Resolutions
It’s a new year, and people all over the country are setting new goals to get in shape, to stay healthy, and to exercise more. It’s not uncommon to review the year and analyze your health and wellness habits, and then realize you need to change certain aspects of how you eat and how you exercise. According to a Nielsen survey in 2015, the top two resolutions made in the United States were to stay healthy and fit, and to lose weight. In other words, exercise and health are two things Americans desire to have more of in their day-to-day lives. As you stick to your resolutions this year and exercise more, take the time to make sure you’re correctly doing one of the most important foundational functions of exercise—breathing.
Importance of Breathing During Exercise
Breathing properly while exercising can help increase athletic performance, decrease stress, and lower blood pressure. A regular, deliberate breathing pattern will help fuel the muscles with oxygen, which is needed to sustain strenuous exercise. Some people tend to hold their breath while exercising—that extra breath inside gives a temporary boost to core strength, which helps complete the task at hand. However, this can lead to harmful situations, such as hernias and muscle cramps.
Personal trainers and instructors of all types of exercise encourage their trainees to breathe on a regular basis. Yoga, for one, is an exercise that focuses highly on breathing throughout the entire process—not only for the physical effect it has on the body during the routine, but for the emotional impact it has in letting go of stress. While weight lifting, a personal trainer will encourage a specific breathing pattern—inhale as you let the weights fall, and exhale as you lift. The same goes for many sports and exercises; following a pattern of correct breathing will help improve performance and prevent injury. Many trainers now even advocate for breathing through the nose to increase oxygen uptake in the muscles.