Thecentre - Outdoor fitness education

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Run a mile a week and stay healthy

As fitness is acquired, efficiency of ventilating the lungs improves. Indeed, much of the feeling of being in shape is due to the reduced respiratory distress during exercise. Once fitness is acquired, less lung ventilation is required per unit of oxygen absorbed by the body. In other words, you are required to breathe smaller volumes of air into the lungs in order to meet the body s oxygen requirement This usually means fewer breaths are taken per minute, lessening the stress on the respiratory muscles to ventilate the lungs.

Sometimes a form of respiratory distress relief occurs momentarily during a hard exercise session and is called second wind . Although the exact physiological basis for this phenomenon is not fully understood, a relief in the breathing process is one of the most often mentioned factors. Second wind is not confined to the beginning exerciser; it may occur at any level of fitness and at any time during an exercise session. It may occur in the easiest of training sessions and bypass you during the toughest sessions or vice versa.

Many runners have asked if there is a best pattern for breathing while running. Should one breathe through the nose or the mouth? Although most runners report breathing in a rhythm with their strides (breathing in on two strides and out on two strides), the best way is the most comfortable way for each individual. There are many patterns which result in breathing frequencies between 3o and 5o times per minute for runners exercising at the same pace. As for the passage of air into the lungs, breathing through the nose and mouth provides the maximum amount of air flow. There is no danger of freezing the lungs in cold weather since the air is warmed and moistened by the time it reaches the voice box. Again, the pattern of breathing = is an individual matter and the most comfortable pattern for you is the best one

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