wikiHow to Breathe While Running

Two Parts:Learn How to Breathe ProperlyImprove Lung Function Over Time

Learning how to breathe properly while running can help you run faster and longer with less effort, and prevent you from getting painful side-aches and stitches during your workout. Read this article to learn how.

Part 1
Learn How to Breathe Properly

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    Breathe with your belly, not with your chest. [1]Your belly should move in and out with every breath. If it is not moving when you breathe, you are probably not taking deep enough breaths.
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    Take longer breaths. This will help ensure that you are getting enough oxygen to your body, and is the best way to prevent muscle and lung fatigue. [2] It also helps increase endurance by getting proper oxygen circulation to your muscles.
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    Keep your mouth open. Your mouth is wider than your nostrils, allowing you to take deeper breaths of air. [3]Allow air to enter through both your mouth and your nose.
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    Find a breathing pattern. Try coordinating your breath with your footsteps. For example, breathe in every other time you take a step with your left foot, and breathe out every other time you take a step with your right foot. This will help you breathe more consistently throughout your run.
    • Experiment with different breathing patterns to find the right one for you. It will depend on how fast you are running.
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    Use the "talk test" to determine if you are breathing enough.[4] You should be able to form full sentences while running without huffing and puffing.

Part 2
Improve Lung Function Over Time

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    Run or jog regularly. Running, just like any other physical activity, improves with practice. The better shape you are in aerobically, the easier it will be for you to breathe efficiently.
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    Do breathing exercises. Remember that just as we work to strengthen our muscles and hearts, we must also work to strengthen our lungs.
    • Practice taking deep breaths with your belly while sitting still or lying on your back. Put your hand on your belly to make sure it moves up and down with each breath. Count to 8 for each inhale and exhale. Repeat for 3-5 minutes.
    • Swimming regularly can also improve lung function over time, because the exercise places an emphasis on breathing. It will also help you learn how to pace your breathing, because you must learn to coordinate your breath with the strokes you take.
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    Don't smoke. Smoking causes damage to your lungs, making it much more difficult for you to take deep breaths while running.


  • Running or jogging at a comfortable pace will help prevent getting stitches or aches in your side, and help you keep up with your breath.
  • Be sure you are properly hydrated when you run.
  • Stretch before and after you run to prevent injuries.
  • Running at high altitude can help improve breathing and running. [5]
  • Don't do static stretches as it can cause injury, try dynamic stretches instead (stretches in a continuous motion).

Article Info

Categories: Cardio Exercises | Running for Fitness