To get the maximum health benefits from jogging, you need to breathe correctly so that you don’t get out of breath. If you find yourself lacking energy following a brisk jog, the problem might be that you are not using the proper breathing technique. There is a right way to breathe that will allow you to improve your endurance and feel more active when you finish. The key is to get plenty of oxygen to your muscles, and exhale fully so that you clear your body of carbon dioxide.
Breathe from the belly, not the lungs. Proper breathing technique is a key element of any exercise program. You shouldn't breathe using your rib muscles -- you can get out of breath too quickly if you breathe in short, shallow breaths from the chest. Breathing from the diaphragm allows you to take in more air, and therefore, more oxygen. The more oxygen you can take into your body with each breath, the less effort it takes to breathe.
Test your breathing before you go for a jog. Lie down on your back, with your knees bent slightly. Place your left hand on your upper chest with your right hand just below your ribcage. As you breathe in slowly, you should feel your belly move against your right hand. Your chest should remain still.
Take deep breaths, inhaling through both your mouth and nose before exhaling through your mouth. This gets more oxygen in your blood so that you feel less tired and more alert. Oxygen is needed to generate adenosine-triphosphate, a co-enzyme that helps the body produce energy. Taking short, rapid breaths will decrease your endurance as carbon dioxide builds up in the body. Breathing deeply also prevents the sudden, sharp pain in the side that can come on while running or jogging.
Get into a rhythm. Focus on your feet striking the ground three times on each inhale. Breathe in as your left/right/left foot hits the ground. Take two footstrikes each time you exhale. Exhale when your right and then left foot strikes the ground. Keep up the tempo even if have to slow your jogging pace a bit until you get used to the pattern. It might also be helpful to practice this breathing pattern first as you walk.
Relax your jaw and open your mouth a little as you are jogging. Breathing deeply allows you to feel less physical tension throughout your body as you move.
Take in more breaths as you jog at a faster pace. You will know if you are not getting enough oxygen to your lungs because you will tire quickly and may even feel a bit dizzy.
- While not everyone agrees on whether it’s best to use your nose or mouth to breathe, you should do what works best for you. Some joggers inhale and exhale through the nose, while others prefer to inhale through the nose and breathe out through the mouth. Still others breathe in and out using both the nose and mouth.
- The American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine recommends that individuals older than age 40 see their family physician before beginning any high-impact exercise like running or jogging. Ask your doctor to check for weight, breathing problems, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Your doctor’s approval is especially important if you have diabetes or a history of asthma, heart or other lung problems, no matter what your age.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.