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Take a deep breath and improve your athletic performance

Do you want to shorten recovery time, increase stamina, decrease stress, sharpen your focus, and improve your athletic performance? Take a deep breath and read on!

As athletes, the importance of breathing is often overlooked. After all, everyone breathes all day every day, so why think about it? This blog post will explore some breathing techniques to help elevate performance, discuss the benefits that one can obtain by using those techniques and how massage can participate in more efficient breathing.

Recent studies have shown diaphragmatic and nasal breathing techniques could improve athletic performance. Diaphragmatic breathing may increase the antioxidant defense status in athletes after exhaustive exercise [1], activate the parasympathetic nervous system to calm nerves, decrease stress and muscle tension [2], sharpen focus, reduce fatigue, and promote stamina [3]. Nasal breathing on the other hand allows the body to take in and process oxygen 20% more efficiently during exercise and protects the lungs from cold and polluted air. For athletes specifically, these two techniques could increase physical performance, focus, mental performance and shorten recovery time [4]. In the video below we will teach you these two techniques so you can improve your breathing and athletic performance.

So where does massage come into play when it comes to breathing? Most people know that the lungs allow us to breathe but don’t usually think about the muscles that allow the lungs to function. The diaphragm is the main muscle that allows humans to inhale (inspiratory) and the abdominal muscles primarily allow humans to exhale (expiratory). A number of smaller muscles also assist in breathing as seen in the diagram below. Any restrictions we have in these muscles can impede breathing and thus harm athletic performance and recovery. Asking your massage therapist to incorporate techniques that target these muscles in your sessions can help to remove those restrictions and allow more effective and efficient breathing for improved performance.

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Want more information on massage for the diaphragm and abdominal muscles?

 

References:

  1. http://triathletetraining.com/tt070-mobility-for-faster-performance-alexander-technique-nasal-breathing-wgeorge-dallam/
  2. http://www.active.com/fitness/Articles/Breathing-Techniques-to-Improve-Your-Performance
  3. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2011/932430/abs/
  4. http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2010.0666
  5. http://triathletetraining.com/triathlete-training-podcast-episode-4/
  6. http://www.bigwheelcoaching.com/deep-breathing-for-endurance-athletes-better-performance-through-breath/
  7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8IKOFoigV4
  8. http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/breathing-with-your-diaphragm
  9. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-breathe-correctly/
  10. http://www.breathing.com/articles/nose-breathing.htm
  11. https://goo.gl/images/hInp0g

This article/video is for educational purposes only; do not attempt without your physician’s clearance. If you are in pain or injured, see your physician.

 

 

About Jennifer Conard

Jennifer was born, raised and still lives in the Philadelphia suburbs. After obtaining her BS in Psychology, Jennifer continued her studies and completed her Massage Therapy Certification at Cortiva Institute of Muscle Therapy in King of Prussia, PA. She studied a range of bodywork modalities, including Sports Massage, Asthma Massage and Myofascial Release. A long time runner and triathlete, Jennifer found her passion for sports massage after experiencing the benefits in her own races and competitions. Her intention is to share that passion and provide a personalized session to assist each client in realizing their personal wellness goals.

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