Breathe Correctly While Exercising To Protect Immunity

Written by Dr. Pulyk Nataliya Omelanivna on Tue, 01 August 2023


If you have been into exercising, you know it well how your breathing increases when you exercise intensely, and sometimes to the extent that you just taking fast shallow breaths! Did you know that there are certain correct ways of breathing when you exercise? Yes! Wondering what these are? Let us understand a little more about why it is important to breathe in a correct way and what these correct ways are

Breathing is mostly effortless; we don't even realize the importance of breathing! It a normal function carried out by the body every day. With every breath that we take we are inhaling oxygen which is essential for every system in the body.

The more physical activity we are involved in, the more oxygen the body demands. This is one of the main reasons why we take heavier and deeper breaths while we are walking, running, etc. It is crucial to know the importance of breathing correctly when we exercise.

Breathing right not only enhances your immunity but also influences the results of your workout. Correct breathing techniques help you get better sleep, relieve stress and make your exercises more effective. All of these factors play an important role in boosting your immunity.

Here are some breathing techniques you can try out while exercising:

1. How to breathe while running?

It is recommended to practice belly breathing/abdominal breathing while running. Abdominal breathing includes taking deep breaths through your nose, involving the entire abdomen. It helps to inhale more air and utilize oxygen more effectively. It also helps in strengthening the diaphragm, a major muscle which supports breathing.

You may take deep breaths and inhale through your nose until your belly feels full. Then you may exhale through your mouth when your stomach expands.

2. Breathing during plank exercise

During workouts that involving the core of our body such as abdominal exercises (planking), we often tend to stop breathing as we are instructed to hold our abdomen/belly tight and intact. But it is important to keep breathing as it provides oxygen to the muscles which help in maintaining the position, making it more effective.

You may take a deep breath as you get into the plank position and set yourself in a stabilized position. Then you may slowly have a count of ten in your mind by inhaling for five seconds and slowly exhaling for five seconds.

3. Breathing when doing HIIT workout

A HIIT exercise, also known as High Intensity Interval Training includes different kinds of high-intensity exercises of short durations, alternating with recovery periods. While doing high intensity exercises, we tend to take heavy and shallow breaths through our mouth to take in more oxygen and provide energy to the muscles. This results in decreased carbon dioxide levels, which may disrupt the acid-base balance and compromise the supply of oxygen to the cells.

The best breathing technique during these exercises is to take deep breaths through the nose and allow for maximum expansion of the lungs. During exhalation you may breathe out through your mouth allowing for maximum contraction of your lungs. You may follow a specific rhythm for each of the exercises you are doing.

4. Breathing when lifting weights

Lifting weights requires a lot of strength, stamina and stability. The correct breathing technique while lifting weights can allow you to have better control over your weight lifts and also engage your core muscles in the right way.

The best method of breathing while lifting weights is to inhale while lifting the weights and exhale while lowering the weights. As a general rule, it is not recommended to hold your breath while lifting weights as it may lead to poor blood circulation to and from the heart, which may make you feel light-headed. As a weight lifter, you must know the importance of breathing while lifting weights.

These are some correct breathing techniques you may use while doing your exercises. If you haven't already tried these, now is the time! As you focus on each of your exercises, do remember to focus on your breathing as well! After all breathing is a natural process in the body. Simply follow the right ways and you will see the results yourself!


Dr. Pulyk Nataliya Omelanivna

Dr. Pulyk Nataliya Omelanivna is an Internal Medical Expert who is based out of Ukraine. With a special interest in internal medicine Dr Pulyk graduated from the Ternopil National Medical Academy in Ukraine, in the year 2001. Between the years 2002-2009, Dr Pulyk worked as an emergency physician. Her years of work as an emergency physician gave her immense exposure to a range of patients and an opportunity to learn on the job, and gather extensive experience.

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  1. Ma X, Yue Z, Gong Z et al. The Effect of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Attention, Negative Affect and Stress in Healthy Adults. Front Psychol. 2017;8:874
  2. Vieira D, Mendes L, Elmiro N, Velloso M, Britto R, Parreira V. Breathing exercises: influence on breathing patterns and thoracoabdominal motion in healthy subjects.Braz J Phys Ther. 2014;18(6):544-552.

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Aug, 01 2023

Written By

Dr. Pulyk Nataliya Omelanivna