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FITNESS AND FUEL

A Whiff of Fresh Air

"Exercise and breathing"
By: Angelica A. De LeonA Whiff of Fresh Air

Fitness instructors help people exercise correctly. But not all of them give tips on breathing correctly during a workout. Have you ever wondered whether your breathing affects the results of your exercise?

Ordinarily, you don’t mind breathing. It’s mostly automatic and spontaneous (although you can wilfully control your breathing). In fact, you can breathe in your sleep. Proper breathing, however, spells the big difference between an effective, fully maximized workout and an ineffective one. How?

Remember that during a workout or exercise session, the muscles need more energy to carry out the activity. Therefore, they demand more oxygen. This allows the body to expel more carbon dioxide wastes during and after the activity.

Proper breathing is important because it ensures that the right amount of oxygen enters the body and the right amount of carbon dioxide is eliminated. But before muscle tissues can use the oxygen, two of several processes take place: one, the transport of oxygen through the bloodstream into the muscles, and two, the transfer of oxygen from the blood into the muscle tissue.

The truth is that during exercise, the human body automatically adjusts breathing in accordance with the exercise load. As mentioned before, breathing is spontaneous. With proper exercise breathing technique, however, additional mind control on top of automaticity reportedly helps the muscles take oxygen from the blood three times as efficiently as the muscles at rest. Furthermore, blood flow into the muscles can increase by almost five times. This is because oxygen-rich blood travels to the muscles more quickly if breathing is efficiently done. Additionally, negative outcomes like dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath, and high blood pressure can be prevented. For athletes, proper breathing allows them to exercise or train longer with less effort. Proper breathing, in general, also helps to calm the mind while allowing a person to make the most out of his workout. 
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