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Breathing For Optimal Weight Training
In the world of fitness, there can be a vast difference in the method of which an individual will chose to maintain their health. For many, even a healthy combination of different exercises throughout the week will center around a preferred exercise. These favorites can range from the serenity of a low impact yoga session to the grunt work of a steel-assisted resistance program. Through all the different tastes, there is one crucial element that applies for all – breathing. Correct breathing will insure that plenty of oxygen makes its way through your body and sustains your essential bout of exercise.
Weight lifting specifically has many rules of thumb when performing each repetition. One common mistake is the urge to hold one’s breath, most often referred to as the Valsalva Maneuver. While the Valsalva Maneuver is utilized in the medical field (to measure the autonomic reflex of cardio-pulmonary functioning), recreation (diver’s use it for clearing ears), entertainment (a modified version is used by trumpeters) and even in our daily life (in the bathroom…if you catch my drift), the combination of breath-holding mixed with lifting weights puts your health and safety at risk. Holding your breath heavily increases your blood pressure, may cause headaches, dizziness or lead to unconsciousness and even land you in the hospital with a stroke.
Another common mistake is chest breathing. When a person breathes through their chest, their upper body will rise with each inhalation. This method takes a lot of energy to execute as you will need far more breaths per minute and still be less oxygenated than if you were to perform the correct method which is stomach breathing. You may have learned this if you are a fan of Yoga class, in which Pranayama uses controlled and deep cleansing breathing. When you breathe through your stomach, you will notice your stomach expands and your chest, nor upper body, will move much at all. As a woman in snug-fitting workout attire, the last thing we want to hear is let our tummy expand when inhaling, but if you want to insure an effective routine throughout your session, you will need to supply your body with adequate oxygen which is done through stomach breathing.
To assist you with your breathing, remember to breathe through pursed lips. After an invigorating inhalation, exhaling through pursed lips will maintain air pressure in your airways. In effect, it will help your airway clear out more stale air, in addition to controlling your breathing rate (include shortness of breath), increasing the flow of air out of your lungs and reducing your bodily energy required to take the next breath.
Finally, a good rule of thumb is that when performing a repetition, the hardest part necessitating focus for good form and strength is when you will be exhaling. Most often, you will find it is during the contraction of the movement. As an example, when performing a Bicep Curl, you will exhale as you pull the weight toward your shoulder. After pausing for a moment at the shoulder, you will begin your inhalation as you slowly lower the weight back to starting position.
Though breathing is an involuntary process, it can enhanced by your own conscientiousness. Proper breathing takes practice as studies show that up to 83% of adults have developed improper techniques. Collectively, all the facets of proper breathing will not only insure an effective workout, but also lower your stress (including all of its disease-ridden effects), rid your body of a fair amount of toxins and lead to overall better health.
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