Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Proper breathing whlie running

One of the most common questions I hear from new runners is, “How can I prevent those annoying side stitches?” Side stiches, or cramps right under the rib cage, are sometimes a result of shallow breathing. One way to help avoid them is to breathe deeply from your belly. The idea is to draw the greatest amount of air into your lungs with each breath so that you’ll maximize your oxygen intake and ultimately boost your performance.

If you’ve ever done yoga, you may already be familiar with belly (or diaphragmatic) breathing. To do it while running, first check your posture and make sure you’re not slouching. Keep your shoulders relaxed, and shake out your arms if you’re feeling tension in your neck or shoulders.

As you breathe in through your mouth, push your abdomen out while pushing down and out with your diaphragm. This gives your lungs the most room to expand and draw in oxygen. You should feel your abdomen expanding, rather than your upper chest.

Exhale slowly and evenly through your mouth. You can check to see if you’re doing it correctly by placing your hand flat against your abdomen, with your thumb near your belly button. You should feel your hand being pushed away as your abdomen rises.

If you’re having a tough time executing the technique while running, try practicing it while lying on your back. Watch your abdomen as you’re breathing—you should see it rise and fall with each breath. If you see only your chest moving up, you’re not breathing deeply enough.

Do you practice deep belly breathing?
article courtesy of Christine Luff

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