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Whatever your swimming level maybe, breathing is the engine that drives the physical effort. It is a technical aspect that is too often overlooked, both in training and competitions, so it is essential to work on it. Indeed, on dry land, breathing is a natural and unconscious act, but this is not the case in the water and can cause some problems if not done properly.
Breathing is a bit different while swimming, we breathe in through our mouth and exhale from our nose, contrary to that on land. During exercise, our lungs demonstrate an impressive ability to adapt. When the need for oxygen increases, our lungs let us breathe in more air and therefore more oxygen.
Training teaches you to breathe faster and deeper and therefore more efficiently. Breathing exercises help you understand how to breathe better while swimming. Therefore, learning to breathe properly can significantly improve your performance.
In comparison, to carry out the same level of physical effort, someone well trained will benefit from an improved ability to use their breathing and the oxygen from the air; they can, therefore, reduce their respiratory rate and be more efficient.
Clearly, better-controlled breathing is an asset during exercise, as it allows you to perform better and more efficiently, and improve your performance drastically.
While you are swimming you are constantly making your muscles work and breathing in a limited amount of air. Your muscles will want every ounce of air that you have inside your lungs. Your heart and lungs are working harder than usual and are trying their best to provide that extra air.
When your body does not get the sufficient amount of oxygen, you feel out of breath. This may cause panic which makes things even worse. Since you are not getting sufficient oxygen you may suffer from hypoxia or in most cases suffer from cramps and muscle inflammation.
In order to overcome this, you have to breathe regularly and more effectively. Which can be done by implying the correct breathing techniques.
In water, breathing is always done through the mouth. Full exhalation empties all the air from the lungs, making space for the inhalation and making it more efficient. Breathing out lasts up to two or three times longer than breathing in. As the air is exhaled from the nose.
The other thing that makes breathing in the water difficult is coordination between movements and breathing. Whether for breaststroke or front crawl, butterfly or backstroke, exhalation and inhalation must be synchronised with arm and leg movements.
Breathing has a big influence on:
Now you can no longer say you are not aware. So get your head out the water and: Breathe!
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