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How to Escape Shortness of Breath When Running

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A disruption in your regular breathing patterns can be disturbing. Feeling as though you can’t take a deep breath is known in the medical community as dyspnea. Many of the conditions associated with dyspnea relate to the heart and lungs. This is because these organs are responsible for circulating oxygen and taking away carbon dioxide throughout your body. Heart and lung conditions can alter these processes, leading to a shortness of breath.

There are some basics about breathing while running. When talking about how to breathe when running we need to look at how to match the breath to our rhythm. When we achieve that, breathing is not a problem anymore.

Always try matching your breathing to your rhythm. Then you can go as far as your legs will take you, and as fast as well.

Some people find themselves tough to pull in enough oxygen to meet the need of their body. Breathing problems can occur in both new and seasoned runners, regardless of age, weight or overall health status.

Author Jason Karp explains that any funky breathing techniques or taking a deeper breath to try and bring in more oxygen doesn’t work because you can’t go beyond the 100 percent O2 saturation point for your blood. When you’re running at sea level he says, your blood is already at total oxygen saturation because the partial pressure of the outside air forces the oxygen into your blood stream. At really high altitudes this saturation starts to decrease, however. “At 5,000 feet elevation, while at rest, your blood will be at about 95 percent or more saturation,” he explains.

So what is limiting people’s ability to breathe while running? It’s not getting oxygen in; it’s getting the CO2 out.

Practicing breathing exercises can do wonders it strengthen your lung functioning as well as help you combat shortness of breath (dyspnea). If experiencing shortness of breath chronically, you should discuss lifestyle modifications that may alleviate it. These changes may reduce the occurrence of shortness of breath and include:

  • Losing weight
  • Treating medical conditions
  • Quitting smoking
  • Avoiding environmental triggers like allergens and toxic air
  • Staying in low-elevation areas (lower than 5,000 feet)
  • Monitoring any equipment or medications you may be using

Breathing problem is a common complaint among many runners, especially new runners. Asthma or exercise-induced asthma and allergies are very common as well. When you experiencing shortness of breathe during exercise or while running, your body could be telling you many different things. Then you should seek out medical attention immediately.

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