“Don’t hold your breath” or “remember to breathe.” Chances are you’ve heard this from a fitness instructor if you’ve ever set foot in a gym. While it’s an important rule to follow, what instructors often don’t tell you is why you should keep breathing—aside from the obvious that if you don’t breath you turn blue and fall down. Here are the basics on how to breathe properly and why it’s so important to focus on proper technique:



Breathe rhythmically. While jogging, for example, try exhaling on each fourth step. It may help you sustain your energy level.In an aerobics class, if you feel yourself beginning to tire, concentrate on exhaling during the most difficult part of the moves.During any aerobic activity, slow your pace when you begin to feel fatigued. Breathe deeply as you continue to keep your feet moving. Once you have regained your breath, restart the activity but at a more moderate and sustainable level. The Importance of Proper Breathing Muscles need oxygen to work. Deep, regular breathing ensures that oxygen is delivered to the muscles as needed and prevents the body from tiring prematurely.

When you hold your breath your blood pressure rises and then suddenly comes crashing down when you resume breathing. This drastic drop may cause you to become light-headed.

If you have a heart condition or high blood pressure, additional stresses placed upon the body by holding your breath could put you in serious jeopardy. If you have either of these conditions consult your doctor before beginning any type of exercise program. The deep exhale stabilizes the spine. It protects your lower back by building up muscular pressure in the trunk and acts as a natural girdle.

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