Do you ever pay attention to your breathing? This is called conscious breathing. It's a gentle and deep-breathing exercise that involves slowing down breathing and remaining completely focused on it. To try conscious breathing, do the following exercise.
Exercise 1: Feel Your Breathing
-Close your eyes allow your breathing to come naturally (automatic and without thinking)
-Start a stopwatch and count the number of breaths you take in 10 seconds
-Slow your breathing and count again: inhale slowly for two to three seconds, then exhale for five to six seconds and feel the movements of your stomach and chest.
2. Understand Your Breathing
We often forget that breathing requires various muscles, including the diaphragm, a muscle located under the lungs and causes the stomach to rise. Breathing with the diaphragm is essential and beneficial. When you are calm, the diaphragm expands as the lungs extend downwards. When stressed, the diaphragm tenses up, preventing the lungs from fully extending. This means that breathing occurs only in the chest and is incomplete.
Find out if you breathe with your diaphragm or chest by doing the following exercise.
Exercise 2: Understand Your Breathing
-Lie down on the floor
-Place one hand on your stomach and one on your chest
-Observe which of your two hands rises first as you breathe
Athletes who breathe only in their chest are not using the full capacity of their lungs. This increases how quickly they fatigue because their oxygen stores are smaller than those who breathe with their diaphragms. It is very important to learn so-called "abdominal" or "belly breathing".
3. Breathing Properly
If you want to become more efficient, you need to work on your breathing. When weight training, be sure to use abdominal breathing between exercises or during your recovery times. This helps bring more oxygen to the muscles between reps and can give you better results.
By using abdominal breathing, you'll take in more oxygen and evacuate CO2. Try this exercise.
Exercise 3: Conscious Abdominal Breathing
-Sit with your back against a wall or lie down on your back
-Breathe in through your nose, slowly and deeply
-Place one hand on your stomach and exhale through your mouth while gently sucking in your stomach (you can gently push on your stomach with your hand)
-Then inhale through your nose by expanding your stomach only (your stomach should rise)
-Breathe out slowly through your mouth. Your exhale should be slower than your inhale
-Repeat the entire sequence three times
To breathe well during effort, try to be as regular and smooth as possible. Your exhale should be two to three times longer than your inhale. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Try to keep your breath steady and even, even when the intensity rises. During your recovery times, take the time to breathe deeply and fully to meet your oxygen needs.
Based on ten breaths per minute, you should:
Inhale for two seconds, allowing the stomach to expand
Exhale for four seconds, allowing the stomach to relax
To take your breathing work one step further, you can try the Breath Play technique during your next spinning workout (for instance): this technique aims to make your exhale active. Exaggerate and vocalise your exhale: say "Ssss-ssss-ssss" (or 1-2-3 mentally) as you breathe out. As you inhale, say "Aaa-aaa" (or 4-5 mentally). This technique can improve your performances during your workout.
4. Increase Your Lung Capacity
Working out regularly can improve your lung capacity. Over time, you learn to control your respiratory rate and eventually lower it. To improve their results, many athletes incorporate breathing techniques into their training plans. Gentle gymnastics, such as yoga, tai chi, qi gong and relaxation, bolster well-being and recovery. They also improve cardiovascular fitness and technique.
By learning to control their breathing, athletes are able to beat stress during competitions. They have the tools they need to calm their mind and increase their mental strength, even on a day-to-day basis.