Breathing for Thought 💭

Breathing method that may also help you avoid Injury while running....

When many start running we give very little thought to breathing, we just want to try and survive. However after I started looking into how I can improve my breathing I read an article by Ian Jackson called “breathe play” who researched into breathing cycles and running cadence. This then led onto a study about the impact of stress on the body during exhalation (breathing out). Both made me start to think maybe breathing is more important than we first thought and maybe we should pay closer attention to how we breathe when we run, for example if we always exhale on our left foot our left side of the body will continually suffer the greatest running stress.... bearing in mind every step in running equates to 3 times your body weight in force! That’s a lot of force running through one side of the body!

Maybe it’s a coincidence we seem to always have injuries on one side or maybe it’s science? Studies have shown that Rhythmic breathing has had a significant decrease in injuries as we alternate the side we exhale on so maybe it’s time we start thinking more about how we breathe. When we exhale the diaphragm and muscles associated to the diaphragm relax which creates less stability in the core. The goal would be to try and breathe in for 3 strides and out for 2 which will alternate the side we exhale on and in turn enable our core to stay strong each side. 

Breath in for 3 steps and out for 2 steps

Breath in for 3 steps and out for 2 steps

Before learning how to breathe with rhythmic patterns we must first learn to become a belly breather. This means we must learn to breathe with our diaphragm. When you inhale, your diaphragm contracts and moves downwards, while the volume in your chest cavity drawers air into your lungs. By working on breathing through our diaphragm it allows our lungs to fill to their greatest potential which of course we need for running! The more air the more oxygen and the better the circulation to working muscles! Win win!

So my challenge to you is to practice once per day belly breathing. It can be done lying, sitting or standing so there is no excuse! Here’s how to start:

-lie on your back (best place to start)

-keep your upper chest and shoulders still

-focus on raising your belly as you inhale

-lower your belly as you exhale

-inhale and exhale through both nose and mouth. 

Do 20 deep belly breaths once a day or more.... 

Want to try the next step to rhythmic breathing...

Let’s start with a 5step count. Or 3:2 breathing pattern. Inhale for 3 exhale for 2. Here’s how to practice:

-lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on floor

-place hand on belly and make sure you are belly breathing 

-breathe through nose and mouth

-inhale to the count of 3 and exhale for count of 2

-concentrate on a continuous breath in and out.

-once you become comfortable with inhale and exhale, add foot taps to mimic walking steps. 

-then try when walking around and finally running. 

Key points: keep it smooth and continuous! 

Give it a go guys and see how your lung capacity increases once we start using our diaphragm and lungs to their full potential. Want to test it in action then don’t forget we’ve got our Fun Run on the 28th of April. So make sure you book your spot now...