A proper breathing technique during exercise can make a huge difference in terms of sports performance.
During exercise a good breathing technique is key. Air mismanagement such as breathing in too quickly and holding it in or inadequate breathing, can affect the amount of vital oxygen entering our bodies, bringing negative side effects and adversely affecting sports performance. You can manage the intensity of the exercise by breathing properly. The important thing is to bring oxygen in to the lungs during activity, so that you can increase performance and decrease fatigue.
During a polo match or in a tournament, is when it is usually more difficult to control breathing. As our bodies work harder more oxygen is needed for the muscles to work effectively. For this reason the rate of breathing increases along with exercise intensity in order to supply muscles with the adequate levels of oxygen. However, breathing must be controlled in order to maximise oxygen intake.
It is vital that during a game, breathing remain relaxed and deep, with a continuous rate of inhalation and exhalation, and no increase in the frequency. If not controlled effectively the player will be forced to stop and rest for a few minutes in order to rebalance oxygen levels in the body. Keeping breathing relaxed, helps us to maintain a rhythm and avoid the sudden changes which decrease our energy levels and have a negative impact on our performance. Inhaling through the nose and exhaling slowly through the mouth, is the right breathing technique during exercise.
It is usually recommended to exhale during the effort, and inhale for the rest period. For example, when doing crunches, you exhale as you go up and inhale as you go back down. Therefore, it is important to control the way you breathe, and rest at the right times.
Breathing correctly while resting is as important as breathing during exercise, whether on rest periods between chukkas, or at the end of a training session or a game. Breathing properly while resting can help us to recover oxygen faster and relax.
You should breathe through your nose. Nose breathing has the automatic side effect of helping you breathe more lightly, which helps reduce anxiety and panic. The more quickly you breathe, the more constricted your blood vessels will be, which means less oxygen will be delivered to your tissues—including your heart and brain. So what you should be doing is to breathe lightly and evenly, through your nose, focusing on breathing with your diaphragm rather than your upper chest. This slows down and regulates your breathing, improves your oxygenation, and has a calming effect.
TIP: How do you know if you are breathing correctly?
If you can talk while you work-out, ride or play, it means you are handling your breathing well. But if you have to stop to talk, or you do it with difficulty and you start breathing erratically in doing so, it means that you should adjust the exercise intensity and your breathing technique as well.
It is essential to be aware and pay attention to your breathing technique during exercise as it can really make a difference in terms of performance.