What are the Proper Ways of Breathing During Exercise?

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  • Written By: M. Harris
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2019
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Choosing the correct breathing technique depends on the type of exercise that one performs. As a general rule, it’s helpful to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth during workouts. This can lower blood pressure and stress levels while giving oxygen to the muscles. Breathing in before exerting energy and breathing out while straining gives the muscles the oxygen they need to get through the workout. Most importantly, one should never holds one's breath while exercising.

For proper breathing during exercise, it’s usually a good idea to breathe in before the exertion part the exercise. For example, when one is doing sit-ups, it is important to breathe in before performing the sit-up and breathe out while lifting the body off of the floor. This technique can be beneficial for most other exercise routines as well.

Another example for breathing during exercise can be found when lifting weights. When curling a barbell, individuals should take a deep breath just before the curl and exhale as the barbell is moved toward the body. The key is to exhale on the most strenuous portion of the movement and inhale on the least difficult part. This will give the muscles plenty of oxygen when they need it the most.


When doing push-ups, one should exhale while lifting the body up off of the ground and inhale while lowering the body back to the ground. Even when moving furniture or lifting something heavy, one should always take a deep breath and bend the knees. Proper breathing allows oxygen to flow to the muscles and produces more power. This power could mean the difference between having enough strength to perform the task and a failed attempt that could result in injury.

One of the most common mistakes that someone makes when breathing during exercise is to hold his breath. It is important to never stop breathing during a workout. This is because holding one’s breath during exercise can lead to high blood pressure, dizziness and fatigue. In fact, holding one’s breath during strenuous activity can quickly deprive the brain of oxygen, which can lead to passing out. When exercising, it is vital to get as much oxygen to the muscles as possible.

Understanding the proper ways of breathing during exercise is critical to the success of any workout program. Strengthening the respiratory muscles through fitness breathing can allow an exerciser to take in more oxygen while building greater cardiovascular endurance. Strong cardiovascular endurance along with proper breathing can result in a more beneficial workout with less chance of injury.


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Post 2

Until reading this article, I didn't know you could raise your blood pressure during exercise by holding your breath. That's a bit scary for me. I have been known to hold my breath for short periods when completing certain strenuous tasks.

Post 1

An older man who was a beginner weight lifter asked my why it was easier to lift the weights when he exhaled on the lift rather than inhaled. I was unable to answer the question.

Now that I have read this article and see that the breathing process is all about getting oxygen the muscles at the appropriate time it finally makes sense. I knew there must be some logical explanation, but I didn't know what it was.

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