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Breathing and Walking

Get the best out of your walking by improving your breathing

When you start to walk one of the first things you may find if you are unfit is that you get out of breath quickly.

If you donít exercise regularly than your lungs only take in a small amount of the air Ė approx a third of what they could do.

So when you breathe more efficiently your blood is able to absorb more oxygen, this in turn provides fuel for your walking muscles.

Donít expect this to happen on your second or third walk Ė it will take time but you will find that it happens gradually in tune with your ability to walk further.

Donít set yourself unrealistic goals Ė gradually build up your walking programme.

It is OK to plan rest stops for yourself.

If you walk regularly then you will become less out of breath and feel stronger in yourself.

If you are walking with someone who is fitter than you donít be discouraged by them. If you get out of breath then stop and take long deep breaths.

When you get out of breath
Stop and stand still and follow these tips which will help you recover quicker and feel more relaxed.

Simple Tips for better breathing

Donít take great gulps of air with your mouth open.

Do breathe in through your nose.

Air taken in through the nose is warmed and moistened as it passes through your nostrils. This makes it easier for your lungs to use.

Your breaths should be quiet not noisy.

Donít take quick breaths

Do try to take slow deep breaths.
If you take quick gasping breaths the air doesnít go down into your lungs where the oxygen can be absorbed and so fuel those muscles.

Donít push out your chest as you breathe.
This only makes your stomach get smaller and there will be less room for your lungs to expand and take in the air.

Do take belly breaths
By pushing out your belly as you breathe in you automatically increase the amount of air that you take in.
Your lungs are not just in your chest - they extend down into the lower body where they are able to expand more.

Feel your breathing.

Place on hand on your stomach just below your ribs.
Place the other hand on your chest

Breathe in through your nose and feel your belly moving out against your hand. The hand on your chest should feel very little movement. As you breathe out slowly feel your belly come in.

A good way to do this is to breathe in counting 1 and 2 and then breathe out counting 1, 2, 3 4. So that your out breath lasts twice as long as your in breath.

You could do this before you go out walking just to get the hang of it, so that the next time you get out of breath walking you are able to help yourself walk further or faster.

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