The average person breathes about 13 pints of air every minute. The surface area of your lungs' interior could stretch to the size of a tennis court. Your lungs are amazing, and they do more than just keep you alive.
But are you doing the best you can to keep them safe? Are you maximizing their capacity to help you during exercise?
Your environment and the way you breathe both affect how you perform during exercise. Poor breathing techniques can limit your gains in the gym or hinder your adaptations on the track.
For example, if you exercise near a road, you might be hurting your lungs. Pollution levels are highest within 1/4-mile of a road.
Today we're going to talk about breathing during exercises. You'll learn how to breathe properly, how to protect your lungs, and how to maximize your performance. Keep scrolling to learn how.
Why Are Your Lungs Important for Excercise?
The air you breathe is 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and almost 1% argon, under ideal circumstances. Oxygen can dip as low as 15% in the air, depending on circulation rates and levels of pollution. The most important component of air for exercise is oxygen.
Oxygen is the fuel your body burns along with glucose to produce energy in your muscles. If you didn't breathe, you would go nowhere fast.
Your lungs contain little sacs called alveoli. These separate out the oxygen from the air you breathe. This oxygen enters your bloodstream and gets pumped to your muscles, brain, and organs.
VO2 max is the maximal oxygen your body can uptake during intense exercise. It's the measure exercise scientists and professional coaches use to measure an athlete's fitness. To measure VO2 max, you take the millimeters of oxygen your body uses in one minute and divide it by your weight.
When your body combines oxygen and glucose, it produces a chemical called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This is the energy in your cells or the currency your body uses to power your muscles. The theory is that the more oxygen your body can consume during intense exercise, the more ATP gets into your cells and the better you perform.
Oxygen is also important for your brain. When your brain doesn't receive adequate oxygen, your motor skills begin to fade. Your coordination degrades, and you are not able to perform at your best.
Now it's time to talk about how to improve your breathing during exercises. Keep reading to find out.
1. Breathe Correctly to Increase Oxygen and Decrease Stress
Your diaphragm is the muscle under your lungs and attached to your lungs. It's the main muscle operating your lungs. You're almost always using your diaphragm to breathe, but you're not always using it to its full potential.
Examine your breathing at the moment. How much are you filling your lungs, and how much are you using your diaphragm? Unless you're having a hard time breathing, you're likely not filling your lungs up very much, and you're not using your diaphragm.
Now take a deep breath and fill your lungs to capacity. Let out that breath.
Do you see how much more air you pulled into your lungs? We call this diaphragmatic breathing.
The more air you pull into your lungs, the more oxygen you get to your muscles.
When you breathe correctly using your diaphragm to its fullest extent, you decrease cortisol in your body. Diaphragmatic breathing can also increase attention and reduce pain responses in the body. All of these effects are essential for maximal performance during exercise.
2. Avoid Pollution and Filter the Air
If you aren't running high up in the mountains away from cars and factories, you're breathing in pollution. If you're curious how much you're breathing in, you can check your real-time air quality index here.
But no matter where you go, you can't entirely escape some sort of pollution in the air you breathe. And even a small number of polluted particles can cause damage to your lungs and body.
How Does Pollution Effect the Body?
Studies done on mice found that regular doses of exhaust fumes caused inflammation in the lungs and increased free radicals. These were controlled studies where researchers exposed mice to diesel exhaust fumes every day for five weeks.
In the Netherlands, a group of researchers collected data and found that even short bike trips through the city reduced people's life spans. How much did it reduce their lifespan? A whole forty days.
And yet another study found that exposure to diesel engine exhaust harmed athletic performance. They compared two groups. One group was exposed to fumes while exercising on a stationary bike while the other was exposed to clean, filtered air. The exhausted group was well more exhausted than the clean air group.
How to Avoid Pollution
If you live in a city, it's going to be difficult to avoid pollution altogether. While you can't control the outside environment, you can control your indoor environment.
The Breathe Safe Plasma Air Purifier is the most powerful and portable plasma ion generator around. It quickly attacks, reduces the amounts, or completely eliminates, the tiniest of health hazards as soon as the machine is powered on. With only five minutes of use, you can increase the oxygen in your environment by 70-118%.
How does it work? The Breathe Safe produces 23,500,000 ions per cubic centimeter. Two-thirds of those ions are negative, and one-third are positive. These create an invisible plasma cloud that breaks down pollutants and leaves the oxygen intact. The machine runs quietly and powerfully as it cleans the air and removes the intense toxic load placed on the human body, without creating more hazards.
3. Head Off Road
If you're a road runner and haven't experienced the joy of trails, it's time to learn. Roads are physically dangerous. Forty or more runners died on the road between 2004-2009. It's not just the cars themselves that are dangerous, but the pollution they spew.
The farther away from busy roads you go, the less pollution you will breathe. This means going off into the woods or up into the mountains or out into the country. If you can't get away from roads entirely, at least drive out into the country and run.
In the United States, state parks are numerous. These are often protected lands away from congestion and pollution. Even if you aren't running, you can do bodyweight exercises in the park.
Remember that study with the mice? The researchers placed the exhausted mice into a clean air environment and enticed them to exercise. This improved mice's lung conditions and increased their circulation.
If you travel by vehicle, or exercise in an indoor location, keep the Breathe Safe with you. The device is compact enough to be easily transported and used wherever you breathe. Any exercise you can do in a clean air environment will help reverse the damage from pollution on your lungs.
3. Practice Breathing Every Day
Not only does diaphragmatic breathing help reduce stress, it trains your body to breathe better during exercise. Your body won't automatically breathe deeply all the time. You have to train your diaphragm like you train your body for any other sport.
Spend a few minutes every day practicing your deep breathing. Breathe in through your nose and pull air in with your diaphragm until your chest is full. Then slowly release your breath. Keep the Breathe Safe close by to continually breathe in negative ions with each and every breath.
Intentional recovery is important when training intensely for any sport. Incorporating a few minutes of breathing every day will help your body relax, will increase digestion, and ultimately improve recovery times.
4. Check In on Your Breathing During Exercise
If you're lifting weights properly, you should already know how to check in with your breathing. If you're not breathing through your weight lifts, you not only hamper your performance, but you increase your risk of a hernia.
Inhale as you lower weight and exhale as you pull or push weight. You may not focus on your breathing all the time while lifting, but it's important you check in and make sure you're breathing correctly.
The same goes for running. You shouldn't be breathing shallowly while running. To avoid injury, try breathing in for two or three counts and exhaling for one or two counts. This will ensure you're relaxing your core on every other stride and evening out impact stress.
Check-in on your breathing while running every twenty minutes or so. The more you practice this, the more you'll notice your body automatically breathing in a steady rhythm.
Using the Breathe Safe can easily increase the effectiveness of your breath work and breathing exercises. Run the machine nearby during indoor exercise to increase oxygen and reduce the body's stress response caused by exposure to harmful chemicals. The Breathe Safe also runs on a 10,000 mAh power bank for portable use anywhere.
If you choose to combine your exercise with sauna therapy, the Breathe Safe doubles as Sauna Ion Generator that enhances near-infrared therapy benefits by 300% and doubles the body's sweat volume. The negative ions produced will help remove humidified toxins from the enclosure to ensure you breathe in quality air during this beneficial practice.
5. Improve Your Posture to Breathe Better
If you're bent over or your shoulders are bowed forward, you have less room in your torso. Your chest collapses, and you can't draw a large breath.
You can practice a good posture whenever you're sitting or walking. While walking, pull your shoulders back and straighten your neck. Practice your diaphragmatic breathing while you're walking to feel the difference.
When sitting, push your hips back into the chair, place your feet on the floor so your knees are at a 90-degree angle. Now pull your shoulders back and straighten your neck. You might need to place a towel or a small pillow in the small of your back to add lumbar support.
Now practice your diaphragmatic breathing while sitting there. You'll notice you can draw more air into your lungs.
Breathing During Exercises Increases Performance and Overall Wellbeing
Now you see how treating your tennis-court-sized lungs well will help with breathing during exercises. You'll see an increase in performance, mental energy, and overall wellbeing.
Remember, use a Breathe Safe Plasma Air Purifier to improve your air quality and improve your breathing. The world is incredibly toxic, causing us to continually inhale large amounts of bacteria, dust, mold, and more contaminants. This kind of exposure makes us sick.
Improve the quality of the air you breathe all day long, whether you are exercising or not. If you're ready to treat your lungs well, buy a Breathe Safe today.