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How to Breathe When Exercising

Breathing Mistakes to Avoid When Working Out

Proper form is a must whether doing cardio, strength training, or flexibility training, but how you breathe is also really important. Here are some common breathing categories people fall into when exercising — sound familiar?

  • I'm the Big Bad Wolf: When doing sprinting intervals or pushing yourself really hard, huffing and puffing comes with the territory. There's a level of intensity though that you shouldn't surpass, so if your labored breathing is causing you to feel dizzy or light-headed, take it down a notch or take a rest to get your breathing back to normal.
  • I'm underwater: Lifting heavy weights, or doing challenging strength training or balancing yoga moves can be so strenuous and require so much attention that you don't even realize you're holding your breath. Aside from your muscles needing oxygen in order to perform their best, holding your breath can cause major headaches or nausea, so try to focus on inhaling and exhaling evenly, without pausing. You can even watch yourself in a mirror to help you remember.
  • I'm in labor: If you're not a breath holder, you may pucker your lips and be a short quick breather instead. While this does do the job of bringing oxygen in and releasing carbon dioxide out, avoiding full, deep breaths can also lead to dizziness and headaches.
  • I'm a bunny: This refers to people who only breathe through their noses. While this is great for allergy sufferers (your nose hairs can help filter out allergens), if you're doing intense cardio, it's tough to get in big gulps of oxygen through your two tiny nostrils. It also makes it hard to release carbon dioxide quickly. When kicking up the intensity, don't forget to breathe through your mouth.
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