Experts have pointed out that “good breathing is far more important than stretching before running.” One of the most essential processes in human life, breathing calms your mind, affects the quality of health and peaks your physical performance. You can go on with your normal chores without food or water, but not without oxygen. Lot of restorative arts like qigong, reiki and yoga consider breathing as a central part of their exercise. By practising breathing in a way that establishes your physical strength and well-being, you improve your abilities and the class of your overall experience. Doing any kind of physical activity requires excellent stamina and the health of lungs, heart and the strength of the bones directly contribute towards this. Through breathing exercises, you can fortify your lung health. Breathing exercises form an important position in the exercise routine of athletes. One should dedicate at least one hour to such exercises for boosting their endurance level. Keeping the fitness factor aside, breathing exercises also have a soothing effect on your mind. Read on to know about the various breathing exercises and the way it must be done. 

Breathing While Running 

Importance Of Breathing Exercises

  • Breathing exercises form an excellent treatment to cure respiratory diseases like, bronchitis and asthma.
  • Breathing exercises increases the oxygen rate, which is taken up by our lungs.
  • The supply of nutrients and blood to muscles and bones and to the body is significantly improved through breathing.
  • It enhances your metabolic power, generates more energy, strengthens your muscular strength, stretches ability and improves concentration.

Deep Breathing Exercises
Most of the runners make use of the upper thirds of the capacity of their lung. However, diaphragmatic breathing, which helps to fill the lower portion of the lungs, enhances the aerobic capacity of the runner. It also reduces the stress and minimizes the risk of cramping while running. These deep breathing exercises should be performed prior to running or while running. However, depending upon the time when they are performed, there will be a slight variation in the technique. If it is taken prior to running, you need to take a deep breath through the nose and hold it for five counts. Then, you can slowly release the breath through the mouth. While running, simply take breathe for five counts after which you can breathe out through nose. 

Plenty of deep breathing exercises are available which benefits the runners the most. Have a look at these techniques. 

Breathe Stimulation

  • Sit down on the floor and keep your legs crossed.
  • Keep the mouth closed, as you need to breathe through the nose.
  • Inhale the air deeply through the nose.
  • Hold your breath for 5-8 seconds.
  • Breathe out the air and continue breathing in the same fashion for five minutes. 

Relaxing Breath

  • Sit down on the floor by keeping your back in a straight line.
  • Sway your tongue to create a fold.
  • Open your mouth a little and breathe in so that the air passes by the side of the ridge.
  • Ensure not to breathe through your nose.
  • Hold your breath and count up till 7.
  • Release your breath after you finish counting 8. 

Cadenced Breathing
This exercise is an excellent way to coordinate your breathing patterns with the running movements. This is used by elite runners to ensure a rhythm to their running. Most of the elite athletes use two steps per inhale and two steps per exhale. Once the race ends, they will switch on to two count inhales and one count exhale. However, this breathing pattern makes the novice runners a bit light-headed. If this happens, you can switch on to three count inhale and three count exhale. 

Cleansing Breath
Waking up with a congested feeling might cause you discomfort. A cleansing breath can open the sinuses and clear the congestion. You can use the two middle fingers of the left hand to close the right nostril and take breathe for four counts using the left nostril. After this, you can close the nostril using the thumbs. You can hold breathe for four counts after which you can release the fingers from the right nostril and breathe out for eight counts.  Repeat the process on your right nostrils after which you will be able to blow your nose. 

Breathing To Music
While deep breathing must be practiced prior to running or while settling down in the middle of the race, one of the most effective breathing exercises for running is adopting a cadence, which works for you and for your pace. You can simply opt for a song and mentally rehearse it all through the run, which would keep your mind from wandering and help in keeping your breathing synchronized. It can be your favourite fast tempo song or one with some encouraging lyrics. If you think that music has an effect on your pace and breathing, take note of the changes next time while you run with an MP3 player. You yourself would gallop into a faster pace subconsciously.

 Hypoxic Training
Hypoxic training (training without enough oxygen) is borrowed from the theory used by the swimmers. As per the theory, limiting the use of oxygen will make an athlete capable of using it in a more efficient way and to tolerate higher levels of lactic acid. One way to practise hypoxic breathing is to simply breathe on a slower rate. You can try breathing in a 4:4 ratio during the course of running in its place of breathing in 2:2 ratio. 


  • While running, your jaw must be in a relaxed position with the mouth slightly open.
  • Ensure you breathe through the nose and mouth at the same time, which maximises the volume of oxygen that reaches the lungs.
  • You must take deep breaths with the diaphragm and avoid shallow breaths through the chest. Breathing with your diaphragm will make the stomach move in and out.
  • If you experience trouble in breathing, frequent yoga classes will enable you to control and breathe mindfully. 

Breathing exercises explained above will not only benefit your running, but will also make a great impact on your overall stress levels. Like yoga and meditation, they contribute towards achieving your fitness goals and make you a healthy being altogether.