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How to breathe while running: tips and techniques

If you have ever wondered why it is so difficult to breathe properly while running and high-intensity physical activity? To understand this phenomenon, we need to analyze what happens to our bodies during running or other types of high-intensity activities.

Breathing correctly during running is indeed crucial to improving performance and maximizing one’s potential. With a few simple steps, you can optimize your breathing motor patterns while running to achieve superior performance and enjoy your running to the fullest.

Why is it difficult to breathe properly while running?

When we run or exercise, our muscles require greater amounts of oxygen to function properly. This requires increased blood flow through the lungs and increased breathing rate. This process allows us to provide the oxygen needed by our muscles to produce energy.

At the same time, our bodies produce carbon dioxide as a byproduct of cellular metabolism, which we must eliminate to maintain biochemical balance within our bodies.

During intense exercise, the amount of oxygen required increases considerably, as does the production of carbon dioxide. This can make synchronization between our respiratory system and our running pace more difficult.

When we try to draw in too much breath, for example, we may feel shortness of breath or wheezing. This is a sign that we are working at the limit of our capacity and may need to reduce the intensity of our training. Breathing difficulty during physical activity is a physiological and normal phenomenon. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the signals our body sends us and adjust the intensity of training accordingly.


Is it better to breathe through the nose or through the mouth?

When it comes to breathing during a run, the question often asked is: is it better to breathe through the nose or through the mouth? The answer depends mainly on the pace of your run and your ability to breathe through your nose.

If you are doing a casual run at a slower pace, you can safely use nasal breathing. Inhale through your nose and also exhale through your nose. This type of breathing has many benefits, such as air filtration, humidification and warming. In addition, breathing through the nose helps to increase endurance and improve running technique. However, if you find yourself struggling to catch your breath or having conversations while running, you may find it easier to breathe through your mouth alone.

During sprints or high-intensity runs, breathing through the mouth is recommended because it is more efficient. The mouth allows more oxygen to enter your body and fuel your muscles, thus improving your performance. In addition, breathing through your mouth helps relieve tension and tightness in your jaw, which can help relax your face and body during running.

Breathing through the mouth also allows carbon dioxide to be more easily expelled, helping to maintain adequate oxygen levels in the body.

Therefore, the choice between breathing through the nose or mouth depends on your specific needs while running. If you are running at a slow pace and want to benefit from the advantages of nasal breathing, go for it without any problems. If you are trying instead to increase your speed and achieve peak performance, then opt for breathing through the mouth.

Respirazione dal nasoRespirazione dalla bocca
Migliore se vai ad un ritmo più lentoMigliore se vai ad un ritmo più veloce
L’aria inalata viene filtrata, riscaldata e umidificataRiduzione della filtrazione dell’aria
Minore quantità di ossigeno inalataMaggiore quantità di ossigeno
Minore smaltimento di anidride carbonicaL’anidride carbonica viene eliminata più velocemente

Tips for breathing better during running

Breathing properly during physical activity is critically important for successful training and performance. Good breathing not only improves your performance, but also allows you to run longer without fatigue and without experiencing symptoms such as flank pain or shortness of breath.

Here are some simple but effective tips for breathing better while running.

  • Breathe rhythmically: breathing in a rhythmic pattern helps you take in more oxygen and reduce stress on your body. For example, you can alternate your exhalation between your right and left foot so that the stress of impact is evenly distributed. Follow a 3:2 pattern, inhaling for three steps and exhaling for two. If you run at a faster pace, you can use a 2:1 pattern. If you find it difficult to follow a specific pattern, just pay attention to your breathing and look for a comfortable rhythm.
  • Diaphragmatic breathing: this technique allows you to use oxygen more efficiently. To do this, try focusing on abdominal breathing. You can also practice diaphragmatic breathing in your daily life, just do a few 5-minute sessions a day to start noticing the benefits
  • Breathing exercises: take time to focus exclusively on your breathing. This will help improve lung function and awareness of breathing. You can try different breathing techniques, such as alternate nostril breathing, deep breathing or mindful breathing.
  • Maintain good posture: having good posture while running is critical for healthy and efficient breathing. Be sure to keep your head in line with your spine and avoid leaning forward or backward. Relax your shoulders and avoid hunching or crouching during running.
  • Inhale clean air: It is much easier to breathe if the air you are inhaling is clean. If you run outdoors in an urban area with air pollution, try to choose the time of day when traffic is minimized. Avoid the busiest roads and opt for less congested routes.

By following these helpful tips, you can improve your breathing while running and achieve better performance without feeling fatigued.


Tips for breathing while running if you have asthma

If you have asthma, it is important to maintain an active lifestyle despite the symptoms that can be triggered or increased by exercise. Physical activity, with the right approach, can improve lung function, manage and reduce asthma symptoms.

Learn more about this topic by checking out the latest scientific research on PubMed

Here are some tips for runners with asthma.

  • Do a proper warm-up: Warming up before and winding down after physical activity are especially important if you have asthma. This allows your lungs to adequately prepare for exercise. Gradually increase the intensity of the activity to give your lungs time to adapt. And do a gradual defatigue once the run is over to allow the lungs to gradually relax.
  • Breathing techniques: There are several breathing exercises that are recommended for people with asthma. These techniques can improve your breathing motor patterns and benefit your workouts.
  • Choose the right time: Different types of weather conditions can trigger asthma symptoms. On those days, you may opt to jog indoors on a treadmill. For example, cold air contains less moisture, which can make breathing less comfortable and trigger asthma symptoms. If you run in cold environments, be sure to cover your mouth and nose with a scarf to moisten and warm the air you breathe.
  • Beware of pollen: Avoid running outdoors when pollen concentration is high, which is usually in the morning or after rain. At the end of your run, take a shower and wash the clothes you wore during your workout to remove any pollen residue.

When is a medical consultation necessary?

When you decide to embark on a new exercise program, it is essential to consult your doctor before you begin, especially if you are new to the fitness world or have health problems. A visit to the doctor can provide valuable information about your physical condition and advise on your suitability for certain exercises. If, while running, you find that you have difficulty breathing or experience shortness of breath, wheezing or wheezing, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. These symptoms could be indicative of more serious respiratory problems that require specialized care.

In addition, if you experience feelings of dizziness, weakness, or disorientation, it is essential to seek medical care to identify and treat any other underlying conditions. Health and well-being are top priorities when it comes to embarking on a new exercise program.

Do not disregard your body’s signals or rely solely on your personal perceptions. Consulting an experienced physician is the best choice to ensure that your fitness program is safe and effective.A visit to the doctor can also help you better understand your physical condition and identify any problems or limitations that may require changes in your exercise regimen.The doctor will be able to provide specific guidance on the type of exercise best suited to your needs and condition, thus reducing the risk of injury or complications.

In the end, the main goal of your exercise program should be to improve your overall health and well-being. Seeing a doctor before you begin can help you make informed choices and create an exercise plan that is tailored to your individual needs.


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