Breathing is something we don’t think much about, until we are short of breath. Exercise is one such scenario in which breathing can quicken and become labored if you are not breathing correctly. Think of oxygen as a sort of fuel for your muscles. In order for you to do anything….talk, walk, exercise…you need to get oxygen to your muscles. Each time you inhale, you take in oxygen, which your body needs to function. The more that you move, the more oxygen you need. This is why proper breathing should be one of your main focuses during exercise.

Whether you’re lifting barbells in the gym or moving house furniture, it’s probably your natural inclination to hold your breath. Improper breathing technique can quicken fatigue, cause dizziness and increase your blood pressure, which can lead to fainting.

Always exhale on exertion. When you are pushing a barbell off your chest during the bench press, you exhale on the push and inhale as you bring it slowly down. When you are doing a pull-up, you exhale on the pulling up motion and inhale on the way down. Breathing during exertion is important in preventing internal injury such as hernia, blood vessel strain and high blood pressure.

Proper breathing can help you lift heavier; it can give you more muscular endurance in weightlifting and cardio activities like running, swimming, and biking; and it can help you recover more quickly during high-intensity activities and sports like basketball and soccer

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