“Breathe!”, isn’t just a wonderful relaxation technique when we’re feeling anxious. Proper breathing is as vital to our High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts as good form and equally as rejuvenating as a good swig of water.
More oxygen in our blood increases our endurance level, decreases lactic acid buildup in our muscles, and helps us relax.
Here are some breathing tips that may surprise you – all day long
- Alignment: Good posture keeps our spine in alignment. It also helps you breathe easier, and deeper which oxygenates our blood at a higher rate. Healthy doses of oxygen can be uniquely satisfying
- Abdominal breathing: Draw full breaths in through your nose, allow your abdomen to rise naturally then contract slightly as you push the air back out. Practice while seated (or when you need a “chill pill”). Soon it will become natural. You’ll benefit from greater blood flow and improved oxygen supply to your brain and muscles. You’ll also feel more relaxed.
- Through the nose – Training yourself to breathe through the nose, filters impurities and warms the air as it enters your body, protecting your lungs from cold air and pollutants.
Exercise-induced cardio tips from running coach, Greg McMillan
- “Whoop” it up! Singing, shouting and even talking during a workout increases our oxygen intake.
- Listen to your lungs. Tune in to your breath to gauge your workout intensity. If you’re really struggling to catch your breath, chances are that you should go slower instead of increasing the intensity. Stay mindful to the signs your body is sending you.
- Exhale excess CO2. If it feels like you can’t catch your breath, it means you are building up too much carbon dioxide, and need to focus on blowing it off, he says. Your instinct may be to keep taking deep breaths IN, but you’ll get rid of the CO2 more efficiently (and be able to catch your breath) if you focus on blowing the air OUT.
Since challenging our breathing cadence is uncomfortable, our first instinct is to avoid cardio altogether. So when personal trainers (who want to sell you more weight training sessions) say that cardio is overrated. Don’t give in!
Steady state cardio alone (
running and elliptical) is
not as useful a tool for weight loss and overall health. The limited selection of muscles used offers fewer metabolism benefits. The wear and tear on the same joints is also hard on the body.
The best all-around form of exercise for safe, effective weight loss and overall health:
A combination of cardio and strengthening via HIIT – high intensity interval training. (aka. Mojo!)
A friendly nudge…Why is cardio so good for us?
- Strengthening our heart muscle. The more we exercise, the stronger our heart muscle becomes. This means that our heart can pump blood more efficiently, which can help to lower our blood pressure and reduce our risk of heart disease.
- Making our blood vessels more flexible. Flexible blood vessels are less likely to clog, which can help to reduce our risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Lowering our cholesterol levels. Cardio exercise can help to lower our levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, which is the “bad” cholesterol. This can help to reduce our risk of heart disease.
- Boosting our mood. Cardio exercise has been shown to improve our mood and reduce our levels of stress and anxiety.
- Helping us to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Cardio exercise can help us to burn calories, which can help us to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
- Improving our sleep. Cardio exercise can help us to sleep better at night.
- Boosting our energy levels.Cardio exercise can help us to feel more energetic throughout the day.
- Reduce our risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and arthritis.
Better yet….Dance cardio is a FANTASTIC way to improve our overall health, particularly for brain health:
- Increases blood flow to the brain: When you dance, your heart rate increases, which sends more blood to your brain. This increased blood flow can help to improve cognitive function and memory.
- Boosts production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF): BDNF is a protein that helps to support the growth and development of new brain cells. Dance cardio can help to increase the production of BDNF, which can lead to improved cognitive function and memory.
- Improves coordination and balance: Dance cardio requires a lot of coordination and balance, which can help to improve these skills. Improved coordination and balance can help to reduce the risk of falls and injuries, and they can also help to improve your overall sense of well-being.
- Reduces stress and anxiety: Dance cardio is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. When you dance, your body releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. Endorphins can help to reduce stress and anxiety, and they can also help to improve your overall mood.
You will never be as young as you are today. It’s now or never.
Start where you are.
Use what you have
Do what you can
Keep moving, dancing and celebrating your gifts.
Your future self will thank you!