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"Breathing to maximize your workout"
By: Angelica A. De LeonAir Supply

If you’re one of the gym rats and fitness buffs out there, ask yourself if you’re breathing correctly during your workout. How do you breathe to maximize the benefits? Here are a few exercises and their corresponding breathing requirements.

Push-ups

• Inhale as you lower your body toward the floor, exhale as you lift your body away from the floor.

Crunches

• Inhale as you pull your body away from your knees and lower it toward the floor, exhale as you crunch up. Aside from effecting better delivery of oxygen into the muscles, proper breathing during crunches and other abdominal exercises helps tighten the abdominal muscles.

Squats

• Inhale as you go down toward the squatting position; exhale as you rise from this position.

Leg extension

• Inhale as you raise your legs to a 90-degree position; exhale as you straighten them.

Cardio exercises: Walking, running, biking, etc.

• Breathe deeply but in a relaxed manner.

• Practice diaphragmatic breathing, or belly breathing.

• Settle into a breathing pattern that you are comfortable with. Stick to this pattern.

• Whether you breathe through your nose or mouth is your choice.

• A special tip for your running regimen: When you run, inhale and exhale in spans of two strides every time. This is known as the 2:2 rhythm. Improper breathing while running can prevent you from picking up speed.

• Light cardio training may also be performed as warm-up exercises.

Strength training

• Breathe continuously. Never hold your breath. Holding your breath during exertion may cause injury and raise your blood pressure.

• Exhale on the hardest part of the exercise—the exertion or the “grunt” phase which is usually the lifting, pushing, or curling motion; and inhale on the easiest part—which is when you lower the weight, and settle back to your starting position.

• Whether you breathe through your nose or mouth is your choice.

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