How can you make any workout feel a little easier? Just breathe.
It’s true – proper breathing not only helps you get through a lift (or run, or class, or whatever your workout of choice is), but it can actually make it feel less challenging.
Here are a couple of tips to help you improve your breathing and make the most out of your workout:
- Breathe deeply. You want the breath to come from your diaphragm – think the air filling deep within your belly. Feel your ribs expand and pull away from your center as you inhale, and tuck back in tight as you exhale.
- Breathe evenly. Yogis, Pilates enthusiasts, swimmers, runners, cyclists … they all have different ways taking in and exhaling breath (be it through the nose or mouth). Keeping your breath even is what matters the most – it can help to stabilize your heart rate and keep your muscles fully oxygenated, allowing you to push harder.
- Let your core help. I always tell my Pilates and cycling classes to tighten up their abs as they exhale – it allows you to exhale fully, while at the same time giving you a little bonus ab work. And who doesn’t love a little extra benefit without the work?
- Watch your head! The more space you can fit between your chin and your chest, the more open your airway will be. This allows the breath to flow more freely in and out of your body.
Finally, if you don’t mind people potentially looking at you funny … don’t be afraid to sing (I try to talk my cycling classes into joining me all the time, but they rarely do). Singers are specially trained to breathe well, and at specific points in a song – and they have incredible lung capacity and breath control as a result. Who cares if you don’t sound like Usher or Adele? You’ll be burning more calories, working more efficiently and even having a little fun at the same time.