Proper Breathing While Exercising

Fact Checked

Warren Goldswain/iStock/Getty Images

Breathing is a very valuable and often overlooked function of the human body. When you inhale, you take in oxygen, which gets transported through blood cells. When you exhale, you get rid of toxins and gases, such as carbon dioxide. Proper breathing during exercise is of utmost importance because it helps oxygenate hard-working muscles and supplies them with nutrient-rich blood.

Use proper form while lifting weights, and exhale when exerting the most force. For example, when doing barbell curls, exhale before curling the bar, and inhale as you extend your arms back into the starting position. Apply a similar breathing technique to all weight lifting exercises, making sure you always exhale when exerting force.

Master the art of low breathing during cardiovascular exercise. Start at a low intensity for approximately 5 minutes. Breathe in and out through your nose. Increase your intensity to your desired level, and continue to breathe in and out through your nose. Keep your abdomen relaxed and take deep breaths, completely filling your stomach with air before slowly exhaling. Continue this breathing pattern for the duration of your cardio session.

Execute proper breathing while you do yoga poses. When doing yoga, take slow, diaphragmatic breaths while holding poses by breathing in and out through your nose. Fill your stomach with air, and exhale fully before taking another breath.


When exercising, never hold your breath, as this can put too much strain on your heart.