Why Proper Breathing Is So Essential When Working Out And How To Get It Right

By now, we all understand the importance of exercising. Whether we like it or not, exercising is one of the best ways to keep in shape and keep our bodies healthy. No matter which type of exercise you enjoy, it's essential to get in a few minutes of activity every day. According to the CDC, adults need to participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity and two days of strengthening activities. While it's common knowledge that physical activity is vital for our health, little is talked about how to breathe during your physical activity. As insignificant as it may seem, breathing can be challenging when you find yourself working out.


Being able to breathe properly is of the same level of importance as knowing how to breathe when you aren't working out. While breathing is something we do without thinking, when working out, it can be extra difficult to have your brain remember to breathe. That's why you need to sometimes take these extra steps to ensure you are breathing correctly during your workouts, to ensure that you are properly working out and keeping yourself healthy.

The reason you need to breathe properly

Like when breathing in your daily life, breathing when you are working out is extra important. Author Galina Denzel tells AARP, "We tend to hold our breath as a way to stabilize the torso and create pressure around the abs, so it then becomes a crutch." Denzel adds that breathing is vital to bring oxygen to our muscles, which explains why the harder we work out, the harder we tend to breathe. When we don't breathe correctly, we risk fainting, dizziness, muscle cramping, and fatigue.


Sweat explains that when we don't breathe correctly, we tend to try to make up for it by breathing a little bit faster and shallower. This method of breathing is also troublesome as it can release a stress response from your body, making your muscles tense up and your heart rate rise. When you breathe incorrectly or completely hold your breath, your body immediately stresses out and tries to make up for the lack of oxygen. This entire stress response will ultimately impede you from getting a good workout but can cause you various health issues.

How to breathe correctly when working out

Even though breathing seems pretty self-explanatory, you want to ensure that you are breathing in a way that relaxes your muscles and lets your oxygen flow. NASM explains that the most optimal way of breathing during strength training is by inhaling on the rest and exhaling when you are exerting yourself. As well, breathing through your nose is the optimal method of breathing, except in extreme training when you might get more airflow through your mouth. If you are cooling down after a workout, you want to practice slower breathing, as that will help your muscles relax a lot quicker.


Oxygen explains that keeping track of your breath is the best way to see if you are breathing correctly. Ideally, you want your ribs and stomach to expand forward rather than having your shoulders and core go straight up when breathing. During any cardio routine, it's best to track your steps to your breathing. If you are running, this would mean inhaling for two steps while exhaling for two steps. This simple tracking method can help regulate your breathing in a way that's easy to remember.