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5 Tips for Breathing During Exercise

The art of breathing, while it may seem simple, can be surprisingly complex at times. Proper breathing is vital to your success while exercising. An easy drill to practice proper breathing habits is to practice diaphragmatic breathing.


Place your hands on your lower ribs so you can feel them rise and fall as you breathe. The majority of the breathing motion should be felt here, not in the upper chest, during everyday life and especially during exercise.


During strength training, inhale on relaxation and exhale during exertion.

  1. For cardio, breathe in and out through the nose. When your intensity ramps up, breathe through the mouth.

  2. If you tend to hold your breath when exercising, we encourage you to count each rep out loud.

  3. If you experience side-stitches while running, we suggest exhaling during the left footfall (not the right).

  4. If you can’t catch your breath, stand tall with your hands behind your head to open the lungs and allow for deeper inhalations—don’t bend over with your hands on your knees.

  5. When cooling down or stretching, deep, slow breathing helps calm the body and aid in recovery.


Use the talk test! If you can’t talk much, you’re in the high-intensity range. If you can carry on a conversation, the intensity is low to moderate.

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