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Make each breath you take count

Aug. 16, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

Most people breathe without ever thinking about it, but when it comes to fitness, there are benefits to paying attention to your breathing techniques.

You take about 60,000 breaths per day, and here Life Fitness tells you how to make each one count.

Don't hold your breath. When your workouts get challenging, you may start to hold your breath as you are focusing on the strain. Your muscles and body need oxygen to effectively burn calories, so make sure you consciously breathe while exercising, which will also help avoid getting dizzy.

Inhale and exhale while strength training. It's best to inhale when preparing, and exhale when exerting during your strength training workouts. For example, exhale on the lifting, pulling, pushing or curling part of the exercise, and inhale to prepare for next repetition. Especially if you are a beginner, concentrate on how you are breathing. Proper breathing can actually give you more power to lift the weights.

Connect to your breath. In yoga, breathing techniques are used to connect the mind and body. You're often told to breathe in and out through the nose, opening the airway in the back of your throat. You can also use this type of breathing as a form of meditation to quiet your mind, gain clarity and an increase your sense of well-being. Even if you take mini breaks during the day to focus on your breathing, it can reduce your stress level and put you in a calmer state.

Becoming aware of your breath can help you relax and improve your lung capacity, workouts and mood.

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