Proper warm-up, correct breathing, gradual increase in speed, and maintaining a regular training routine can help improve your breathing while running.
Running is an exercise that engages multiple organs, including the respiratory system. Here are some suggestions to help runners adjust their breathing, optimizing oxygen utilization to improve training effectiveness.
Warm up before running
A proper warm-up contributes to reducing aches, preventing injuries, and loosening up muscles. Loosening muscles before running allows the oxygen in the blood to circulate more easily. You can spend 10 minutes warming up with gentle stretches for your thighs, hips, knees, and ankles. Some light cardio warm-up exercises, like jump rope, can also help regulate breathing and improve blood circulation.
Focus on your breath
Concentrating on breathing techniques helps ensure your lungs receive enough air while running. If you breathe shallowly for too long, you run the risk of hyperventilating. Feelings of anxiety can also worsen shortness of breath symptoms. While running, you should aim for deep and steady breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. At first, this might feel distracting, but it will gradually become a habit.
Gradually increase intensity
Beginners should choose a comfortable, moderate speed to familiarize themselves with the activity. If you find it hard to breathe, you should slow down or reduce the distance. As breathing becomes easier, gradually increase your speed and intensity. Running 2-3 times a week, interspersed with rest days, can help your body acclimate and form a daily habit.
When running at a moderate pace, the body utilizes oxygen more effectively, making it easier to control your breathing. Maintaining physical activity for about 30 minutes each day, at least 3-4 days a week, helps you achieve effective training results.
By combining basic exercises and strength training, your lungs can enhance their function and work better.
Smoking can impair the lungs’ capacity to hold oxygen, leading to shortness of breath for runners. If you have a smoking habit, it would be beneficial to quit. Smokers may notice that they can exercise longer and have more stamina about two weeks after quitting.
Breathe using the diaphragm
The diaphragm is the muscle located below the lungs and heart, separating the abdomen from the chest. Diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing, helps strengthen the muscles that support respiration. This breathing exercise contributes to improving the amount of oxygen entering the lungs, thereby enhancing training effectiveness. Those who tend to breathe shallowly might feel more relaxed with belly breathing.
To practice diaphragmatic breathing, lie on your back, place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest, take a deep breath through your nose, purse your lips, and exhale slowly.