Better Breathing for Runners
There are a number of reasons why our breathing habits might not be as good as they should be.
1. Sitting too much (especially in bad posture)
2. Too much screen time
3. Poor posture/postural awareness
4. Movement dysfunction (increased compensatory strategies)
5. Specializing in a specific sport at an early age
6. Improper training methods (training muscles, not movements)
Spending too much time in flexion (sitting in some form), stress and poor movement are the primary culprits. Fortunately, there are some simple breathing strategies you can adopt to not only improve your running and fitness, but also your overall well-being. Here are some great exercises that take no more than 10 minutes a day to practice.
Lie on a flat surface face down. Place hand over hand and rest your forehead on your hands. Breathe in through your nose and feel the pressure of the abdominal cavity pressing into the floor ad your low back rises. Exhale through your nose and let your back flatten to the floor. Repeat for at least 10 breaths and each time try to lengthen your tempo of inhale and exhale. Start with at least four seconds in and four seconds out.
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Make sure your face is parallel to the ceiling. If not, place a towel roll or pillow under your head to ensure it is in a neutral position. Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach. Breathe in through your nose and allow your abdominal cavity with expand 360 degrees, while your chest remains relatively stable. Exhale through your nose (or mouth) and allow your belly button to move towards your spine. Repeat for at least 10 breaths and each time try to lengthen your tempo of inhale and exhale. Start with at least four seconds in and four seconds out.