Do you know how to breathe? Way back last fall I asked you to take notice of your breath in the first Mini Movie Monday post. If you haven’t watched that video….you may want to. Breathing is essential to our daily life and especially to our performance as athletes and fitness enthusiasts. This Runner’s World article (and many others) highlight one such study regarding runners and it’s pretty much a universal truth when it comes to exercise:
“Exercise improves the conditioning of the diaphragm, the muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen, and the intercostal muscles, which lie between the ribs and enable you to inhale and exhale,” says Everett Murphy, M.D., a runner and pulmonologist at Olathe Medical Center in Olathe, Kansas. “When you take a breath, 80 percent of the work is done by the diaphragm. If you strengthen your diaphragm, you may improve your endurance and be less likely to become fatigued.”
This was backed up by researchers from the Centre for Sports Medicine and Human Performance at Brunel University in England, who recently measured fatigue levels of marathoners’ respiratory muscles and leg muscles. They found a direct link-runners whose breathing was the most strained showed the most leg weakness-and concluded in their study that the harder the respiratory muscles had to work, the more the legs would struggle in a race.
The key to preventing lung-and leg-fatigue is breathing more fully.
Therefore, today we are going to learn a yoga breathing technique known as Dirga Pranayama that will teach us to breathe more fully in our daily lives as well as during our activities.
And, as always….
While I am a fitness professional with multiple degrees and certifications, this workout is unsolicited, un-sponsored, and not intended as advice for you to use to diagnose your own injuries, treat them, nor rehab anything; nor is it an exercise prescription that will meet your personal needs, likes, and abilities. Please check in with your healthcare professional if you’re having health problems and before starting any new exercise routine.
How has breathing impacted your performance? Your life?