You may not realize it, but the way in which you are currently breathing may be screwing up your body’s normal functions and preventing you from reaching your true athletic potential. Improper breathing has been tied to problems with mood, sleep, digestion, muscles, and the nervous system.

Here are just some of the unexpected adverse effects of improper breathing patterns:

The nervous system become unbalanced 

Breath has a lasting impact on the health of the nervous system. Short and shallow breathing has a tendency to cause it to tense up, while comfortable and consistent breathing enables it to loosen up and relax.

Blood vessels constrict 

This can lead to high blood pressure and the heart having to work harder to keep blood flowing.

Less energy is produced 

Without an abundance of oxygen available in your cells, your body will be unable to produce energy, leaving you tired and lethargic on a frequent basis.

The airways become tighter 

Chronic patterns of improper breathing can shorten the airway over time. This in turn force us to work harder to get oxygen into our body.

So what exactly is the correct way to breathe?

In short, the best way to breathe is to do so in a way that a physiological optimal for your specific body. Oxygen requirements vary from individual to individual because of a variety of factors.

The key to improving your breathing is to become aware of the way you breathe currently. You may find that you have a tendency to hold your breath, breathe too shallow or too frequently.

Although there is no ‘perfect’ way to breathe, there are a few principles tied to proper breathing.

  • Breathe Through Your Nose
  • Breathe From your Diaphragm
  • Breathe Relaxed
  • Breathe Rhythmically
  • Breathe Silently

“The benefits of conscious deep breaths every hour are immense. It calms the nervous system down, supplies the body with needed oxygen to function, and naturally reduces tension throughout the body.” -Head Coach Michael Bann

Breathing properly is a physical skill and like any skill, it requires practice and patience.

Set aside a few minutes at the beginning of every hour by focusing on your breathe. Take note of the manner in which you are breathing. Become aware of how your breathing changes throughout the course of your normal day.

Over time, this habit will allow you to supply your body with the necessary oxygen needed to thrive in the gym and in competition situations as well as improve your health and vitality.