There are all sorts of activities that, in their own way, will enable you to exercise for longer periods. But how can you effectively train your breathing? And which are the best sports to turn to? Read on to find out more.
1. Which Sport to Choose to Boost Your Breathing?
It stands to reason that you should choose endurance sports if you want to train your breathing as effectively as possible. And this means you're spoilt for choice:
Walking and running
One of the simplest sports to do is also one of the most effective at training your heart. There's no need to be a high-level sports user to go for a walk. A decent pair of trainers and a healthy dose of motivation is all you need to get your heart going.
By extension, running has the same positive benefits for your heart as walking. You will need to work harder, but the results will be all the better. Our handy tip for beginners is to alternate between walking and running so that you'll gradually improve your workouts without even realising!
Again, there's no need to be a professional cyclist to boost your breathing. Cycling is one of the best cardio sports around. There are even different ways of doing it, with a city bike, mountain bike, or racing bike… And you could even have a go at aqua biking!
Alpine sports: cross-country skiing and snowshoeing
We keep banging on about it, but altitude is a major ally when you're trying to improve your breathing. It therefore makes perfect sense for mountain sports to be at the top of the list for cardio work. One option you could try is snowshoeing. As well as walking for exercise, you get to enjoy some magnificent scenery.
Another possibility is cross-country skiing. Not only does it burn calories at high speed, but your heart will get a serious workout too!
Gyms are packed full of machines and classes that aim to improve your cardio.
In no particular order, they include Zumba, RPM, step, aero dance, Body Pump, Body Attack, Sh'Bam, and more. The names might sound pretty weird, but trust us, these classes are great for working your heart.
And all of those machines, such as cross trainers, rowing machines, treadmills and step machines, will become your best friends.
2. Boosting Your Breathing: Techniques
Once you've chosen the sport you want to do, all that remains is to train as effectively as possible, because training your breathing doesn't mean just training any which way. Here are two options for you to try:
Working on your basic endurance...
It may seem a bit counter-intuitive, but to work your heart and lungs, you need to run (for example) slowly! Exercise is at its most effective when you work your heart at 60-70% of your maximum heart rate (generally calculated by subtracting your age from 220). This will train your VO2max (aka your maximal aerobic speed), which will help you increase your maximal oxygen consumption
...and alternating with interval training
Interval training means changing the speed of your workout. In concrete terms, you should do a working phase followed by a recovery phase. When running, for example, you can run for 1 minute at 70% of your max heart rate, then 30 seconds at 80-90%, and repeat 10 times in a row. You can do the same exercise on a bike, walking, on a cross trainer, etc.
Whatever the exercise, you should ideally train at least three times per week to see a real result. If you train more, don't forget to give yourself enough rest periods during your week: you're not a machine! s for the duration, this can vary. If you're a beginner, start by training for 20 minutes at a time and gradually increase the length of each session. Once you're training for 45 minutes at a time, it's a double whammy because you're also drawing on your fat reserves for an extra benefit.
By following these tips, you'll find your breathing is better than ever! Don't hesitate to ask us any questions you may have. And remember to let us know which sport you choose. We'd love to hear from you!