Breathing when exercising


USCGA 2014
10-Year Member
Sep 18, 2008
Okay so when I was in high school, I was a runner. One of my biggest issues was, and still is, breathing when I run. I have always been told to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth to regulate my breathing. Problem is, when I try to regulate my breathing, I feel like I can't breath well. Any advice on working on regulating breathing when doing any type of exercise?
I have this problem too and would really like to know also...
It usually doesn't make a BIG difference.

Inhaling through the nose helps to moisten the air, so your throat doesn't go dry as fast. It also helps filter the air a little, but that's not usually a problem anyway.

It is more important to get enough oxygen. Breath the way you need to.
I run cross country, and I have never used the nose-mouth method, though I suppose with work on it, it could become comfortable and useful. The method I do use is to start off inhaling deeply for 8 steps (count to 8 about), then exhaling for the same amount of time, followed by a quick 2 step inhale, then a 2 step exhale, then repeat starting with the 8 again. Though as I rack on the miles it may lower to 6 steps.

This really helps prevent cramps, and also gets a good oxygen flow. It's another thing that takes getting used to, but once you get it down, it's helpful.
I used to do a thing like that: two quick breaths in, one long breath out.

But in the end, its all about the most efficient way to get oxygen to your muscles. I was routinely hitting 18:00 minutes for 5K, but couldn't get faster. My coach watched me run closely one day and told me to stop with the fancy breathing, just get as much air in as possible.

So now I breathe in with mouth and nose, big breaths, and I strive for regularity to prevent cramps. I run most of my PFTs in just under 17 minutes.
I have heard a lot that breathing is important when you run and for me it is, since I run 5K's when I can. I think the important thing is to get into a rhythm where you are getting enough oxygen. The rhythm makes the actions seem routine allowing you to be able to not focus on it. Also, before your run try stretching and breathing excersises to get your body ready.