The Simple Technique That Will Help You Run Longer

Ever wonder why some days you feel like you can keep running and running while on others you have zero stamina? Certainly the amount of sleep you got the night before, stress levels, and diet play a role in how you perform during your runs, but how you regulate your breath during your jogging session also affects your energy levels. Here’s how to power your muscles with fresh oxygen on each stride.

Learn to breathe deeply: Your lungs are just a bit smaller than your rib cage, but most people tend to use just the top third of this powerful organ. When you take a deep breath, you are expanding the lungs, pressing down the diaphragm, and causing your abdomen to expand as your lungs fill with air. Learning to breathe this way while running helps you take in a lot of oxygen, preventing dizziness and nausea. With a little training and some stretching, you can breathe to your full potential and increase your endurance. Cross-training with yoga and Pilates can also help you learn to breathe from your diaphragm. Here are some tips for how to conquer diaphragmatic breathing.

Match your breathing to your steps: For an easy-paced run, inhale for three or four steps, then exhale for the same amount. Count the steps in your head while you adjust to breathing on tempo. If you are running more intensely, your breathing tempo will increase to support your increased energy output and become faster ¡ª a breath in for one to two steps and out for one to two steps. If you can’t match your steps to your breathing tempo, then you are trying to run too fast; slow down, and get back into your rhythm.

Breathe differently in cooler temps: It’s important to breathe through your nose while running in chillier weather, because cold air is dry and breathing through your mouth increases the dryness while decreasing the temperature of the air. Since your lungs do not like dry air, you can experience asthma-like symptoms, like wheezing and coughing, when breathing cold air in through your mouth. Breathing through your nose not only filters out air impurities but also warms cool air to body temperature, creating less shock for the lungs to decrease those asthma-like symptoms.

Learn to breathe through your nose: If nose breathing is difficult for you, start experimenting with the technique now before the temperature drops drastically. Breathing through the nose helps you breathe more deeply and efficiently, which will ultimately help your running no matter what the temperature is. If you plan to run in cold temps and have yet to master nose breathing, you can try wearing a bandana (or a shirt that can be pulled up far) over your nose and mouth to help trap the moisture of your breath and humidity in the air before it reaches your lungs.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Ericka McConnell

The Simple Technique That Will Help You Run Longer

Ever wonder why some days you feel like you can keep running and running while on others you have zero stamina? Certainly the amount of sleep you got the night before| stress levels| and diet play a role in how you perform during your runs| but how you regulate your breath during your jogging session also affects your energy levels. Here’s how to power your muscles with fresh oxygen on each stride.

Learn to breathe deeply: Your lungs are just a bit smaller than your rib cage| but most people tend to use just the top third of this powerful organ. When you take a deep breath| you are expanding the lungs| pressing down the diaphragm| and causing your abdomen to expand as your lungs fill with air. Learning to breathe this way while running helps you take in a lot of oxygen| preventing dizziness and nausea. With a little training and some stretching| you can breathe to your full potential and increase your endurance. Cross-training with yoga and Pilates can also help you learn to breathe from your diaphragm. Here are some tips for how to conquer diaphragmatic breathing.

Match your breathing to your steps: For an easy-paced run| inhale for three or four steps| then exhale for the same amount. Count the steps in your head while you adjust to breathing on tempo. If you are running more intensely| your breathing tempo will increase to support your increased energy output and become faster a breath in for one to two steps and out for one to two steps. If you can’t match your steps to your breathing tempo| then you are trying to run too fast; slow down| and get back into your rhythm.

Breathe differently in cooler temps: It’s important to breathe through your nose while running in chillier weather| because cold air is dry and breathing through your mouth increases the dryness while decreasing the temperature of the air. Since your lungs do not like dry air| you can experience asthma-like symptoms| like wheezing and coughing| when breathing cold air in through your mouth. Breathing through your nose not only filters out air impurities but also warms cool air to body temperature| creating less shock for the lungs to decrease those asthma-like symptoms.

Learn to breathe through your nose: If nose breathing is difficult for you| start experimenting with the technique now before the temperature drops drastically. Breathing through the nose helps you breathe more deeply and efficiently| which will ultimately help your running no matter what the temperature is. If you plan to run in cold temps and have yet to master nose breathing| you can try wearing a bandana (or a shirt that can be pulled up far) over your nose and mouth to help trap the moisture of your breath and humidity in the air before it reaches your lungs.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Ericka McConnell

Why It’s Important to Breathe From Your Diaphragm

If you ever find yourself in the midst of a panicked or stressed moment, check in with your breathing. If it feels shallow or strained, try taking a deep breath ¡ª?no, a really deep breath.

When discussing deep breathing, we’re referring to breathing from your diaphragm (the large muscle right below your lungs). When you take a truly deep breath, you are expanding the lungs, pressing down the diaphragm, and causing your abdomen to expand as your lungs fill with air. This is not only wonderful for reducing tension, but research has shown that it may also help with diseases that inhibit breathing, like emphysema.

Diaphragmatic breathing rapidly and effectively calms you down and is an immediate stress buster. For athletes and runners, it’s good to get in the habit of breathing this way, since it will help you take in lots of oxygen during physical activities, hopefully preventing dizziness and nauseousness.

If you’re not sure you’re breathing deep enough, find out with a helpful breathing exercise.

Start by lying down and putting a magazine on your stomach. Make sure you expel all your air, exhaling completely, and then slowly raise the magazine as you inhale. Inhale for five nice, long counts. Exhale the same way, counting down slowly from five until the magazine goes down. You can also use your hand instead of a magazine, or try it sitting or standing up. If you find this to be difficult, make it a daily practice to improve your breath!Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography

Why It’s Important to Breathe From Your Diaphragm

If you ever find yourself in the midst of a panicked or stressed moment| check in with your breathing. If it feels shallow or strained| try taking a deep breath ¡ª?no| a really deep breath.

When discussing deep breathing| we’re referring to breathing from your diaphragm (the large muscle right below your lungs). When you take a truly deep breath| you are expanding the lungs| pressing down the diaphragm| and causing your abdomen to expand as your lungs fill with air. This is not only wonderful for reducing tension| but research has shown that it may also help with diseases that inhibit breathing| like emphysema.

Diaphragmatic breathing rapidly and effectively calms you down and is an immediate stress buster. For athletes and runners| it’s good to get in the habit of breathing this way| since it will help you take in lots of oxygen during physical activities| hopefully preventing dizziness and nauseousness.

If you’re not sure you’re breathing deep enough| find out with a helpful breathing exercise.

Start by lying down and putting a magazine on your stomach. Make sure you expel all your air| exhaling completely| and then slowly raise the magazine as you inhale. Inhale for five nice| long counts. Exhale the same way| counting down slowly from five until the magazine goes down. You can also use your hand instead of a magazine| or try it sitting or standing up. If you find this to be difficult| make it a daily practice to improve your breath!Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography

3 Tips to Amp Up Your Weight-Training Workouts

Our friends at Shape have come up with three useful tips to help you safely step up your weight workouts.

It’s hard to forget about your breath during yoga (have you ever taken a yoga class where you haven’t heard the phrase: “focus on your breath” every third pose!?) The teacher usually guides you through class by counting breaths and telling you when, exactly, to inhale and exhale. But, you don’t often hear bootcamp instructors yelling out breathing instructions during sets of push-ups ¡ª and if you’re lifting on your own, you may even find that you’re actually holding your breath during certain moves. Which is too bad, since breathing at the right times can not only make lifting feel easier, it can help you get better results, says Susan Stanley, a Tier 4 Coach (or master instructor) at Equinox in New York City. (In fact, you can actually Breathe Your Way to a Fitter Body.)

“One way to tell if the exercise is beyond the scope of the exerciser is whether they feel like they need to hold their breath,” says Stanley. If you do find you’re holding your breath while executing a move, use lighter weights or scale the exercise down so it’s easier. As you get stronger ¡ª and breathe easier ¡ª you can pick up the heavier weights again. (Try this Heavy Weight Workout.) But there’s more to it than simply not holding your breath. You can use each inhale and exhale to help you get more out of every exercise you do so you get fitter, faster! Here are three ways to maximize every breath you take:

Exhale during the “work” portion of the move (so, the “up” movement of a biceps curl, for example) and inhale when you’re lowering the weights back down. “Generally, exhaling during the work means you are engaging the transversus abdominus, a critical spinal stabilizer in the core, as well as other stabilizers,” explains Stanley. “This is necessary for form, safety, and maximizing strength and range of motion.”When exhaling, think about blowing the air out forcefully and purposefully. “You don’t want to ‘deflate,’ you want to exhale like you’re trying to blow up a balloon,” says Stanley’s fellow T4 Coach Jane Lee. (Try Yoga Breathing to Fall Asleep Fast.)Watch yourself in the mirror when possible. Make sure your belly is rising when you inhale. This is diaphragmatic breathing, and it’s important to stabilizing your core and keeping you injury-free. “If only your chest moves when you breathe, that means you are taking in some oxygen, but probably not expelling enough CO2, which is equally important,” says Stanley.Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography

3 Tips to Amp Up Your Weight-Training Workouts

Our friends at Shape have come up with three useful tips to help you safely step up your weight workouts.

It’s hard to forget about your breath during yoga (have you ever taken a yoga class where you haven’t heard the phrase: “focus on your breath” every third pose!?) The teacher usually guides you through class by counting breaths and telling you when| exactly| to inhale and exhale. But| you don’t often hear bootcamp instructors yelling out breathing instructions during sets of push-ups ¡ª and if you’re lifting on your own| you may even find that you’re actually holding your breath during certain moves. Which is too bad| since breathing at the right times can not only make lifting feel easier| it can help you get better results| says Susan Stanley| a Tier 4 Coach (or master instructor) at Equinox in New York City. (In fact| you can actually Breathe Your Way to a Fitter Body.)

“One way to tell if the exercise is beyond the scope of the exerciser is whether they feel like they need to hold their breath|” says Stanley. If you do find you’re holding your breath while executing a move| use lighter weights or scale the exercise down so it’s easier. As you get stronger ¡ª and breathe easier ¡ª you can pick up the heavier weights again. (Try this Heavy Weight Workout.) But there’s more to it than simply not holding your breath. You can use each inhale and exhale to help you get more out of every exercise you do so you get fitter| faster! Here are three ways to maximize every breath you take:

Exhale during the “work” portion of the move (so| the “up” movement of a biceps curl| for example) and inhale when you’re lowering the weights back down. “Generally| exhaling during the work means you are engaging the transversus abdominus| a critical spinal stabilizer in the core| as well as other stabilizers|” explains Stanley. “This is necessary for form| safety| and maximizing strength and range of motion.”When exhaling| think about blowing the air out forcefully and purposefully. “You don’t want to ‘deflate|’ you want to exhale like you’re trying to blow up a balloon|” says Stanley’s fellow T4 Coach Jane Lee. (Try Yoga Breathing to Fall Asleep Fast.)Watch yourself in the mirror when possible. Make sure your belly is rising when you inhale. This is diaphragmatic breathing| and it’s important to stabilizing your core and keeping you injury-free. “If only your chest moves when you breathe| that means you are taking in some oxygen| but probably not expelling enough CO2| which is equally important|” says Stanley.Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography