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Breathing Exercises To Enhance Your Hiking Experience

 

If you are new to hiking, you may find you are more out of breath than your friends.

Years later, you may find that you are still experiencing heavy breathing when you go hiking.

Don’t worry, this is something that can naturally occur when you are challenging yourself during a hike. This can even happen when you are on a relatively, non-strenuous hike.

Your lung capacity while hiking is critical to being able to attempt some of the more strenuous climbs or longer trails.

The good news is that there are things you can do to be able to breathe easier on the more challenging hikes you would like to take or even for some of your daily activities.

The National Institute of Health, says that when we are resting, on average, we breathe 15 times per minute. When we are exercising or doing other strenuous activities, such as scrambling or climbing, we breathe between 40-60 times per minute.

Assuming you have healthy lungs, when you feel that you are out of breath, you still have a good amount of breath available.

 

Ways You Can Improve Lung Capacity

 

Increase Stamina and Strengthen Your Muscles

 

Cardio Workout

Cardio Workout To Increase Lung Capacity

Cardio workouts and muscle strengthening training, when done in combination with each other, approximately 3 times a week, can improve your lung capacity as much as 5% – 15%!

When you do this type of exercising your muscles will be stronger. Your body will not only be able to take in more oxygen, but it will be able to use that oxygen more efficiently, thereby improving your lung capacity.

In addition to your cardio/muscle strengthening workouts, you will want to start a series of breathing exercises.

 

Breathing Exercises

 

Breathwork not only helps to increase your lung capacity, but it also stimulates PNS (Parasympathetic Nervous System). This can create feelings of peacefulness. When your body feels calm & peaceful, your breathing becomes calmer, too.

 

Simple Breathwork

 

Find seating that is comfortable. You can either sit upright in a chair or in a reclined position. Close your eyes. Then, inhale approximately 7 times. Each time you inhale, hold your breath.

At first, you can hold your breath for about 3 seconds. Once you are comfortable with that amount of time, then you can slowly increase to 4 seconds

Then, you can work your way up to 5 seconds. Please note: 5 seconds is the maximum.

Each time, slowly exhale, in a controlled manner, until you have no more air left to exhale.  Repeat this process 8 times.

Breath of Threes

 

Use the same comfortable seating and position as noted above, while keeping your eyes closed.

Inhale to a count of 7 or 8, then, slowly exhale for 3 seconds and hold. Exhale again for another 3 seconds and hold. Finally, exhale until all of the air is out. Repeat this process 8 times.

 

Alternate Nostril Breathing

 

inhale-hold-exhale

Breathing Exercises

Use the same comfortable seating and position as noted above, while keeping your eyes closed.

While covering your left nostril with one finger, inhale for a count of 6.

Then, pinch both nostrils closed and hold for at least 3 seconds.

Next, cover your right nostril and exhale out for 3 seconds. Repeat this process 5 times.

When practicing these breathing exercises try to extend the length of each inhale, exhale and hold counts.

For example, try inhaling for a count of 8 and hold for a count of 5 and then exhale for a count of 8, etc.

Once you have completed these exercises, while still sitting, keep your eyes closed and breath as you normally would. Do this for a couple of minutes. You should notice the calmness of your body, breathing, and mind.

These exercises are not just for improving hiking lung capacity. You may also find them helpful for relieving anxiety and stress in your everyday life.

 

Stretching

 

Yoga Stretching Exercises

Yoga Stretches to Increase Lung Capacity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stretching releases tightness in your chest and shoulders.

You can use stretching or yoga along with your breathwork.

Simple stretching exercises will help to expand the muscles of your diaphragm and rib cage. By doing this you can create an increased lung capacity for yourself, which will prove to be valuable for hiking & in your daily life.

Consistency Is Of Key Importance

 

Being consistent is the key to obtaining and maintaining better lung capacity. As a hiker, you already know that the more you hike, exercise and do breathwork, the easier these long and/or strenuous hikes will become.

 

And Finally…How to Breathe at High Altitudes

 

When the air pressure is thin, such as on Alpine hikes, it will make it harder for you to take in as much oxygen as you would like because the air pressure in your body is generally higher than that of the outside air.

You can combat this challenge by breathing slowly and deeply. By doing this you will decrease your heart rate. When your heart rate decreases your body will be able to take in more oxygen.

If you find this is not sufficient, try slowing down the rhythm of your breathing. If you feel like you’re struggling to breathe, slow down your pace.

Breathwork, exercise, pacing yourself and mindset will improve your hiking experience. If you are already doing all of this, Great! If not, please give it a try and you will see how much easier your hikes will become!

 

To read another great article CLICK the link below.

Use Of Campfires While Hiking Or Camping