Sit upright, slowly exhale, get oxygen out of your lungs. Focus and be conscious of what you’re doing.
Inhale four counts slowly and deeply through your nose until your lungs are completely full. Feel the air move into your abdomen.
Hold your breath for a slow count to four.
Exhale through your mouth for the same slow count of four. Expel air from lungs and abdomen. Be conscious of the air leaving your lungs.
Hold your breath for four counts before repeating this process.
Repeat steps 1 to 5 four more times.
This is Box Breathing. It is used by many as a way to calm the nerves, improve mental focus and attention, warm up the lungs, and improve mind and body control. The best thing about this technique: it can be done anywhere. Try it out over the next few days and let us know how you get on.
20,000. That’s the number of times a day we inhale and exhale unconsciously. Oxygen gets absorbed by our blood, Carbon dioxide is dissolved. The amount of oxygen we inhale correlates with energy released into our body’s cells.
What gets interesting is when we consciously take part in our breathing patterns, specifically in areas of physical exertion and other moments of fitness activity and wellbeing practices. In full workout mode, it becomes harder to concentrate on breathing alone, which is why it is always good to prime yourself with deep breathing during the warm-up phase of your fitness regimen.
Each type of activity from Cardio to HIIT has its own best breathing technique to supply our muscles with the optimal amount of oxygen at the most intense moments. For cardio, make sure to breathe from your belly without letting your chest rise or fall. For weight training, you want to exhale when you exert energy, so, exhale while pushing the weight away from your body and inhale while pulling it towards your body. During yoga, you want to inhale when opening the front of the body and exhale when compressing the front of the body. In through your nose, out through your nose (with the exception of a few yoga poses where mouth exhales are encouraged). For HIIT it’s a series of focused deep breaths.
Although each form of exercise hails a different breathing method, one thing remains the same, and that’s priming. Taking a moment to consciously think about your breathing and your body as a system has significant benefits both while working out and while in a state of rest.