Of Anna Mop

Combining breathing and running also improves muscle performance. But breathing with the diaphragm is needed for every activity: this muscle itself is used on average less than 30%

Running is the sport of the moment, of spring. Many runners don’t think about it and concentrate only on training the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings and calves, the muscles that are activated during this sporting activity. Yet there are others equally important, albeit neglected, to train to run more efficiently: they are the muscles that allow you to breathe, first of all the diaphragm. Let’s see how to take full advantage of it on the occasion of the World Breathing Day which is celebrated onApril 11th.

The advice of the freediving champion

When used well, it helps increase oxygen intake during exercise which means you run better and feel less tired. The diaphragm is the main muscle of respiration, shaped like a dome and located under the lungs. 70% of the breath revolves around this muscle which in itself is used on average less than 30%. Its complex functioning and all its physiological mechanisms are still not clear today, he explains Mike Maricspecialist in orthodontics and professor at the University of Pavia, freediving world champion, now coach, CONI level 4 European coach. Simplifying, his action consists of moving downwards when we inhale in order to increase the air spaces and push more air into the lungs. When we exhale, however, it moves in the opposite direction, i.e. upwards (see figure below, ed). In addition to the diaphragm, there are secondary muscles, such as those in the chest, neck and shoulders, that are involved in breathing. However, if you rely more on these, you cannot get the air deep into the lungs, thus limiting the absorption and supply of oxygen to the muscles that work less well. In short, you lose effectiveness in terms of breathing and performance. Working on the breath means working on one’s resistance, on the perception of fatigue.

Oxygen fuels the muscles

Studies The confirmation of the importance of diaphragmatic breathing comes from science. A small study that appeared in the Journal of Applied Physiology demonstrated how subjects, both men and women, with tired diaphragms were unable to train with the same intensity as usual. The results of another published research su Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Journal Instead, they suggest that a regimen of high-intensity inspiratory muscle training leads to a growth in the thickness of the contracted diaphragm and an increase in lung volumes and exercise capacity in healthy people. Oxygen plays a central role in every energy process in man, therefore as such it also “feeds” the muscle. Its saturation or not at the muscle level decrees our performance somewhat.

The training program

To make diaphragmatic breathing as natural as possible, it is necessary practice it every day as if it were training any other part of the body. Training the breath itself requires the necessary time: the first step is to have the right sensitivity on what is moving and how. Then lie down on the floor or on the bed, place one hand on your chest and one under your navel, inhale and exhale deeply through your nose, consciously trying to let the air enter your belly, advises Maric. During diaphragmatic breathing, the hand near the belly will rise and fall with each breath. Training to breathe cos takes approx 15 minutes a day for about 6 weeks.
From 3 to 6 weeks considered an average time in which a person feels improvements. Then, of course, this type of breathing shouldn’t be abandoned. No athlete stops training certain muscle groups, so even learning to breathe requires perseverance.

How to combine breathing and running

Once you have learned belly breathing, you will get to insert it into an increasingly vigorous walk and then into sports. My suggestion is to have a gradual and progressive approach over time, in order to make breathing “simple” and try to automate it according to what the running rules require, integrating it with the needs and above all with the goals of the athlete of all levels Maric concludes. An aid to integrating breathing and running can be to apply a breathing rhythm according to the pace. For example, 1 inhalation every 3 steps and 1 exhalation every 3 steps and then vary, with the increase of the rhythm it is necessary to favor the inhalation over the exhalation perhaps with a rhythm of 2 to 1.

April 11, 2023 (change April 11, 2023 | 06:38)

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