|Mallory Fleming is a first-class athlete, dedicated to keeping her body healthy. While Mallory Fleming is an avid volleyball player, she also finds time to exercise outside of team sports by running. To Mallory Fleming, running provides quiet, personal time and an opportunity to set and achieve new physical fitness goals. Through her many years of conditioning through running, Mallory Fleming has learned that proper breathing techniques can have an amazing impact on running.|
Like many people, Mallory Fleming didn’t really think about breathing when she first started running. To Mallory Fleming and so many people new to running, the natural process of breathing seemed to sufficiently get her through a run. After conversations with coaches, trainers and other runners, Mallory Fleming learned that breathing, when properly controlled, can enhance physical performance and reduce the risk of injury.
Running is strenuous exercise that strains the entire body. In order to run, the body must send a lot of oxygen throughout the body, especially to the muscles doing most of the work. What Mallory Fleming has learned is that breathing from the diaphragm, or belly breathing, allows the body to take in a lot more oxygen than chest breathing. The more oxygen entering the body, the more oxygen available to feed hard-working muscles. Breathing from the diaphragm didn’t come naturally for Mallory Fleming, so she found a series of exercises that helped her get the hang of belly breathing before hitting the pavement. Exercises to strengthen the diaphragm can be found online or by talking with a personal trainer at the gym, advises Mallory Fleming.
In addition to breathing from her diaphragm, Mallory Fleming also found that the pace and cadence of breathing can affect overall running performance. For Mallory Fleming, using a 3:2, breath to pace sequence works best, which means she inhales for three paces and exhales for two paces while she is running. As Mallory Fleming has found while working with coaches and trainers that breathing patterns may vary for each person and can be modified during a run, depending on the level of exertion. The idea is to get the highest level of oxygen into the body while working out, and patterned, paced breathing can do just that.
Breathing can also be controlled to reduce risk from injury, confirms Mallory Fleming. For instance, by alternating which foot hits the ground with each exhale, a runner can remove uneven stress on the body and reduce overall risk of injury. Again, this type of breathing takes practice, but can provide immense benefits for keeping the body healthy and strong while running.