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Just Four Steps to Fitness? Shut Your Mouth!

Just Four Steps to Fitness?  Shut Your Mouth!

Do you want to be fitter, faster and have more energy for sports and other recreational activities? Would you like to lose weight and increase muscle tone?  How about looking and feeling younger and healthier?If so, read on because this advice is something you’re unlikely to have heard anywhere else.

The common perception is that the more we breathe, the healthier we are. Many sports coaches, Yoga teachers and Pilates instructors subscribe to this view. However, this advice contradicts fundamental principles of respiration. Healthy breathing is not about breathing more air, in the same way that the key to good nutrition is not about eating more.

Now here’s the science:

Healthy breathing helps maintain a constant level of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the blood which is essential for the flow of oxygenated blood to muscle tissue.  Over-breathing and mouth breathing when exercising reduces oxygen to muscle tissue due to CO2-induced constriction of airways and blood vessels and the suppressed ‘Bohr Effect’. This can seriously impact your performance by reducing stamina, increasing lactic acid, increased breathlessness, fatigue, longer recovery times, slow injury repair, and performance anxiety.

Efficient breathers can run further and faster, on fewer litres of air per minute and have fewer breakdowns just as an efficient (well-tuned) car runs longer and faster and uses fewer litres of fuel per km and spends less time at the repair shop.

Four easy steps to improve fitness


Don’t pant through your mouth when you start to get puffed. It is better to slow down or stop to get your breath before continuing.

If you suffer from exercise asthma it is better not to pre-dose with reliever medication. Carry it with you and use only if the need arises.


Increase the pace gradually where possible. It may be necessary to do a light jog before training at high intensity.


Keep your mouth shut and breathe through your nose as much as possible during training. This enhances blood flow and maximises oxygen delivery to muscle tissue.


Soften the belly, drop your shoulders and breathe diaphragmatically.


Include five minutes of slow, rhythmic, gentle, nasal breathing after training to restore a resting pulse and help reduce lactic acid build-up.

Follow these simple steps and you can expect a 20 per cent improvement in your fitness. If you find it difficult to breathe through your nose or find that breathing is limiting your ability to exercise or get fit, then contact Glenn at the Buteyko Breathing Clinic 09-360 6291

This article is on p37 of the online issue of the July 2011 Ponsonby News >>

Read feedback from sportsmen and women who have been helped by the Buteyko Breathing Technique here >>

Posted: Sat 02 Jul 2011


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