The importance of breathing properly while swimming

In your everyday life, have you ever asked yourself how to breathe? Probably not! On dry land, breathing is automatic, that’s not something we really need to think about as our body does it autonomously.

However, breathing while swimming is not that simple! It is even one of the most technical and challenging part. The way you breathe when swimming will impact how comfortable you feel in the water as well as your performance. Therefore, it is important to work on it, especially if you are a beginner.

Why is it so important to breathe properly?

Breathing has an influence on many aspects of your swimming performances:

- Swimming efficiency
- Propulsion and muscular effort
- Balance and alignment of your body in the water
- Buoyancy

While swimming, your muscles work constantly and therefore they will need an extra amount of oxygen. Your heart and lungs are working the best they can to get you the maximum amount of air in an environment where your breathing capacities are limited.
Bad breathing causes poor oxygenation. When you feel out of breath, it is because your body isn’t getting a sufficient amount of oxygen.This is called hypoxia, which is an imbalance between the oxygen requirements of the tissues and supply. When hypoxia affects the muscles, it can lead to cramps and inflammatory lesions.

One thing that makes breathing difficult when swimming is the coordination between your movements and breathing. Breathing in an unsuitable way will tire your body quicker because of the resistance it will add to your strokes.

But don’t worry, with some simple tips you can improve quickly!

How can you improve the way you breathe?

1. Remember not to hold your breath

The first thing to remember is that even if you’re in the water, you need to breathe. Rather than holding your breath, remember to exhale whenever your face is underwater.

Full exhalation is one of the most important parts of breathing. It empties your lungs, making space for inhalation. Breathing out is preferably done through the mouth and usually lasts up to two to three times more than breathing in which is done through the nose.

2. Practice will help you get better

Training plays a huge part in improving your breathing capacities. With practice, you will learn to breathe faster and deeper and therefore more efficiently.

During exercise, our lungs have an impressive ability to adapt. When the need for oxygen increases, they let us breathe in more air and therefore more oxygen. The same happens when breathing out to release a greater amount of carbon dioxide into the air.

Training will enable you to develop this ability even more and perform in a more efficient way.

Finally, whatever the stroke, exhalation and inhalation must be synchronised with your arms and legs. It will help you to have a good rhythm and be able to swim longer. Try to work on your technique to learn how to be as efficient as possible and improve your endurance!

3. You can also work on your breathing out of the water

Breathing exercises can help you understand how to breathe better while swimming.
In comparison to a beginner, to carry out the same level of physical effort, someone well trained will benefit from an improved ability to use their breathing and the oxygen from the air. Therefore, they can reduce their respiratory rate and be more efficient.

Better-controlled breathing is definitely an asset during exercise! It will allow you to improve your performance and enjoy swimming even more!


So grab your swimming bag, dive in and remember to breathe ;)

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