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How to Breathe Correctly During Exercise

By Max Whitmore ; Updated August 14, 2017

Exercise increases your heart rate and makes you breathe faster. The accelerated breathing delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues at a faster rate so you can continue to fuel your workout. Unfortunately, if you breathe incorrectly, your faster breathing rate also can dry out your throat and cause a burning sensation. When you breathe correctly, you will get all the oxygen you need without your throat burning.

  1. Keep your teeth together when you exercise. Do not clench your teeth, which can hurt your jaw, but allow your teeth to touch to prevent you from letting your jaw fall open.

  2. Let your tongue rest behind your teeth, on the roof of your mouth. This tongue position will automatically prevent air from flowing into your mouth.

  3. Inhale through your nose. Your sinuses are designed to warm and moisten the air as you inhale. This will prevent the air from drying out the mucous membranes in your throat.

  4. Exhale through your mouth. The air that exits your body already is warm and moist. Because your mouth is larger than your nostrils, exhaling through the mouth will get rid of waste products faster than exhaling through your nose. Keep your teeth together, relax your tongue and open your lips to exhale. If you cannot exhale through your mouth with your teeth together, let them come apart a few centimeters to allow air to pass out of your mouth.

  5. Take deep, even breaths to control your rate of breathing. The more control you have over your breathing, the more likely you will breathe correctly.

  6. Reduce the intensity if you are unable to control your breathing rate or find yourself gasping for air. If you are unable to control your breathing, it means you are working beyond your current endurance level.

  7. Increase the intensity, gradually, as you gain more control over your breath.

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