Have you ever experienced a situation in which you have searched the entire house for something, only to find that you were holding it in your hand all the time!! Even if you do not belong to the absent-minded lot amongst us.
Similarly in case of exercising, your search for results has very simple companion – your breathing technique! Didn’t think there was a technique for breathing ???????
If your trainer has guided you right, then while lifting a weight (usually) - when the muscle contracts, you exhale and, when you are putting it down – when your muscle relaxes, you inhale. Is it important to maintain this sequence?
To start with, as we have learned, there are 2 basic processes – inhaling and exhaling.
When we inhale, we take in oxygen which then gets dissolved in the blood, and this oxygen-rich blood is pumped by the heart to all the muscles and organs. The muscle then contracts while exercising. This contraction temporarily constricts blood flow through the arteries passing near muscle and later releases some waste products, which are carried by the blood to the heart and lungs for purification.
So, moral of the story? When you contract your muscle, always exhale, so that the direction of blood flow near muscles and that from the heart don’t become opposite. And when the muscle relaxes, inhale, so that the pure blood pumped by the heart reaches the muscle to prepare it for the next contraction.
Whatever you do, please avoid holding your breath – simply or through Valsalva Maneuver – when you are lifting weights, to avoid blackouts and other health problems.
Cardio activities call for deep breathing through nose and mouth, for better endurance. Connoisseurs of Yoga may have different beliefs, some logical others not so much.