Tips For Dealing With Breathing Problems When Running

man running

It is normal for people to have breathing difficulties when exercising. These can either be caused by underlying health conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Here are some ways where you can practice breathing before you go out on a long run. 


Is it better to breathe through the mouth or nose?

If you are new to running then you will often ask the question of whether you breathe through your nose or mouth. You will find as you are running that it is easier to breathe through your mouth but sometimes this might not be the best option. If you are going on a short distance run that requires minimal effort then breathing through your nose is ok to do so. 


However, if you are going on a long-distance run then it is better to breathe out of your mouth and breathe in through your nose. This allows enough oxygen to pass through the lungs and around the body without having to take quick, short breaths. More oxygen in the body means more fuel to your muscles which means you can run for a longer period. 


Not only does your body receive more oxygen but it also exercises your muscles in your jaw. Relaxing and easing the muscles around your jaw and face. 


Focus on your form 

It is important to focus on your breathing whilst you are on a run but practice different breathing techniques before you do go out. Keeping a good posture whilst you are running is another way to make sure you get the maximum amount of oxygen into your lungs.


Open your shoulders and drop them back in a comfortable position with a straight back. This sounds simple but you will see many runners who run with a poor posture which can affect their performance and breathe massively. As a runner, eating a healthy and well-balanced diet can help with your form massively, but if you have certain dietary requirements, or follow a vegan diet, then you may need to make some adjustments in terms of carbs and sugars. 


Stay away from polluted areas

Cities can be highly polluted, especially in well-developed countries. If you do wish to go on a run in a city then you will need to go at its off-peak times. This could be either early in the morning or late in the evening as the car pollution is a lot lower. 


Picking rural areas is a lot better for your lungs as it makes your breathing a lot easier whilst you are running. Rural areas can be more physically challenging as well due to the uneven ground and the hills involved. Another plus side about running in rural areas is that there are a lot fewer people that can get in your way. However, be prepared to bump into dog walkers and cyclists. 


Breathing through your diaphragm

Diaphragmatic breathing is breathing through your stomach and is very simple to do. However, this is something that you should practice before you start running as it can be a new technique to you and can be difficult for some people. Even if you are an elite runner who doesn’t suffer from breathing difficulties. But you suffer from side stitches then this could be a good breathing technique for you to stop those. 


Like mentioned before, it is better to practice this technique before you start trying it out whilst running. One of the best ways to do this is to lay down on your back and start breathing through your belly. The next thing you should do is breathe in through your nose making sure you fill your stomach with air. Once you have inhaled as much as possible then push your chest down and out. One more thing to add is to make sure that you make your exhales longer than your inhales. 


Practice your form over and over again until you are doing it correctly and then slowly implement it in your runs. Maybe even practice on a walk before actually including it in your runs to make sure you are doing it correctly. Do not overthink it too much as it is that complicated. 


Consider pattern breathing 

This is probably one of the most simple yet effective ways of breathing when you are running or even walking. The best way to do this is to switch up your inhales and exhales on each foot. This puts less stress on your diaphragm and also balances the stress of both sides of your body upon impact. 


For some people, it can be very difficult to follow a running pattern like the one suggested above. If it is too difficult for you then you should concentrate on your breathing pattern and get the rhythm of that instead. 


Suffering from health conditions

Health conditions could have massive effects on people’s breathing when they are exercising. Hot weather or pollen can irritate you in these situations so try to avoid the cold winter weather and also avoid running when pollen is quite high in the country. 


Do not challenge yourself too much by doing a five-kilometer run if you have underlying health conditions such as asthma. Ease your way into running and do not go full pace when you begin your run. If you are asthmatic then remember to take an inhaler with you just in case you have an asthma attack. It is better to be prepared for an emergency, especially if your asthma is bad. 


Some people suffer from a disease called COPD, which stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This is something else that can affect your breathing when exercising. If your COPD affects your exercising massively then you should go see a doctor about the issue to get the appropriate advice. 


A good way to deal with these breathing problems is by implementing a multivitamin into your diet which contains vitamin D. Not only do multivitamins make sure that you get all the right vitamins and minerals for your body but they give you vitamin D as well, which scientists say helps with people’s breathing difficulties. 


Include breaks whilst you are running

Running long distances nonstop can be physically challenging. If you find it challenging then consider going at a lighter pace and include walking every quarter of a mile or so. Maybe run or jog for one minute then walk for a minute after that. 


As you are doing this, you are improving your recovery time. If you do walk for a minute after running for a minute, eventually you will be able to drop that to 45 seconds or even 30 seconds. It really depends on what you want to do and what you are capable of doing as well. Make sure you do not push yourself too hard as you can be out of breath very quickly. 


Interval running is very popular with treadmills so that is something else you can try if running outdoors is not for you. 


To conclude

Running is not for everyone so do not go too hard on yourself if you are having some difficulty with it. Practice and then practice again. Soon you will start to see improvements with not only your times but also with how long you can run for. Whatever you do, do not overcomplicate it, and make sure you get enough rest time in between your runs. 



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