Guest Post: Killer Breathing Tips To Beat Runners Fatigue

On the surface, running doesn’t seem complicated, but your running style and how effective you are at enhancing your workout depend upon proper breathing techniques while running. Done correctly, breathing can sustain your run and help you achieve your goals.  Done incorrectly, breathing can ensure that your exercise sessions are cut short, and your goals remain elusive.

woman running on the beach

Although running isn’t complicated from a mechanical standpoint, coordinating your breathing with your body movements and coping with the sheer physical exertion can be.  Here are a couple of respiratory therapy tips to help correct bad breathing habits while running.

The first breathing technique requires you to concentrate on what your feet are doing! Running, like walking, requires both left and right strides.  You’ll need to pay attention to what stride you’re taking, so you should practice this technique initially in a relatively safe place that doesn’t require complete awareness of your surroundings. If that’s not possible, slow down your run while you master this technique and don’t get discouraged if you’re not immediately coordinated. With a little practice, this technique will become second nature, and you’ll see significant improvements in your stamina and running abilities.

Soldiering On

The goal is to take in and release the proper amount of air, but you’ll do this in an asymmetrical fashion.  Inhale completely on your first left, right, left (LRL) combination, then exhale just as completely on your next right-left (RL) combo.  Then inhale on the RLR combo and exhale on the LR follow up.  This requires a more smooth, controlled inhale and a more rapid, complete exhale.  With practice, this “3:2 technique” will become habit and you’ll see improvements in your energy. You’ll also reduce or even eliminate cramping caused by poor oxygen management.

When you’re not exerting yourself, you normally breathe by expanding and contracting your chest. This kind of breathing is natural when you’re not engaged in some kind of demanding physical activity. When you’re singing, exercising or otherwise exerting yourself, your body simply needs more oxygen.  If you engage your diaphragm while exerting yourself, you increase the amount of oxygen you take in one breath. This technique enables you to manage the oxygen you’re taking in more effectively, which will help your running.  This exercise is designed to strengthen your diaphragm, and you can do this either while running or sitting still.

Belly Breathing

Inhale rapidly and deeply.  As you inhale, your diaphragm will contract sharply. You’ll feel this motion. If you don’t feel the motion, you’re not inhaling fast enough.  Try raising your hands over your head and inhaling rapidly again. You should feel a flex below your lungs, in your abdomen. The flex comes from your diaphragm. This is the muscle you want to engage when breathing while running because it automatically increases your breathing capacity.

Getting rid of air efficiently while running is just as important as getting into your body.  After you’ve done a deep inhale, note the size of your expanded chest.  Try to force the air back out of your lungs while maintaining your expanded chest size. This will require you to use your diaphragm to push the air out of your lungs.  You may want to practice this diaphragmatic breathing while sitting, until you get the hang of how it feels.  Once you know where your diaphragm is and how to control it for better oxygenation, try combining belly breathing with the 3:2 breathing technique described earlier in this article for a powerful breathing combination.

Janelle Wyatt is a freelance writer and an avid runner. When she’s not running Janelle is usually writing about respiratory therapist schools and programs as well as other education and health topics.

Top 4 Most Common Sports Injuries

For a large majority of professional athletes, being down from an injury is quite common. Typically, professional athletes are acquainted with a physical therapist early on in their careers, often working in therapy programs for weeks.  Because sports injuries are common, physical therapy assistant schools often train students in the most common sports injuries and their corresponding therapies. The following is a list of the most common sports injuries that athletes of all categories experience.

physical therapy

Muscle Strain

This injury can occur to almost any muscle on the body. Because athletes know of the risk of severe muscle strain they start every training session with a warm up and stretch and end each session with a cool down. However, even after doing these, the athlete still risks experiencing muscle pulls.  People who try too hard, or move too fast in their exercise or sports routine can often experience these.  Athletes who take a fall, experience fatigue or get hit overly hard can also experience these injuries. Physical therapy assistant programs teach students to apply ice to the muscle to relieve the spasms. Ice is applied for 20 minutes and then taken off for another 20, after which it is replaced. This icing process should be continued for the first few days after the injury.

Muscle Spasms

This injury is identified by the pronounced and painful involuntary muscle contraction. Physical therapy assistant schools teach that the signs of a muscle cramp or spasm in the muscle usually cause a great deal of pain and a sense of being very tender to the touch. In most cases the person affected can’t use the muscle until it heals.  The muscle cramp can decrease when the muscle is stretched and flexibility improves.  Adding fruits, vegetables and water to a diet may help prevent this type of injury.

Neck Strain

Many athletes suffer from pulled muscles in the neck area. It occurs from suddenly looking up or making a swift head movement. In some sufferers it causes neck movement to be almost impossible. Physical therapy assistant programs teach students to treat this type of injury with 20 minutes of applied ice then removing the ice for another 20 minutes and reapplying it.

Lower Back Pain

Almost all athletic people experience some type of lower back pain. It usually comes from a sharp and unexpected movement or back twist. Although it can also occur when a person lifts a heavy weight, or participates in an activity where he or she doesn’t have a lot of practice. Weightlifters, martial artists and tennis players are prone to back injuries because of the movements they need to make. Physical therapy schools teach physical therapist assistants simple exercises that can strengthen the lower back and abdominal muscles. By strengthening these sets of muscles a person can prevent back pain from occurring again.

There are many other sports related injuries that can occur. Some are related to a particular sport while others are more generalized. There are many different treatments and exercises that a good physical therapy assistant program will teach students throughout the learning sessions.

Dorothy Synder has written about physical therapy assistant schools and training as well as other college degree focused programs.