POWERbreathe Trial – Martin Haines Week 8: Getting back into the groove

“Its great to get back into using the POWERbreathe again.  Its interesting that after the quite rapid progression I felt using the POWERbreathe the first time round, after the enforced payoff I have not had the same speedy improvements.  I’m wondering whether my progress is more in line with normal now and whether the initial response was something to do with my asthmatic tendencies; I was probably at a lower level than most when I first started.

More on progress next week”.

POWERbreathe User Trial – Maxine Filby: Getting started with POWERbreathe

Maxine FilbyI’m an Elite XC Mountain Bike racer; I have only been racing for three years so when it comes to training at this high level I’m still very much finding my feet.  I assumed that as I was getting fitter and my body was getting stronger that my lungs would follow suit, surely with the training I was doing they would benefit too.

Unfortunately, I had a little bit of a rude awakening following a nasty bout of bronchitis about three months ago.  I made sure that I was fully recovered before beginning to train and race again.  When I was doing high intensity intervals I began to wheeze a little, I probably should have investigated further at that point but eager to get back to form I began to race again. My first race back was a disaster, I got half way into the first lap when I couldn’t get my breath at all, it was quite a frightening experience.  Off I went to the doctor who diagnosed me with exercise related asthma and gave me inhalers to try.  The first race with the inhaler ended in the same way as the first with me wheezing round the lap getting more and more uptight.  It was back to the drawing board; I have a great masseur (Liz Soames at Working Bodies, Towcester) who suggested that I wasn’t using my lungs correctly and suggested I have a look at POWERbreathe.  She thought that I was just breathing from my chest and could benefit from training with a POWERbreathe, effectively learning how to breathe properly again.

I have had an POWERbreathe Plus Heavy Resistance for a couple of days now; I was really surprised how difficult it was just to complete the 30 breaths on level 0 to begin with. I’m still on level 0 but can now complete the 30 breaths, I really cannot imagine being able to get up to level 10. It makes my lungs feel like my legs do after a good training session, I’m very excited to see how I improve over the coming weeks.  I have a couple of big races to end the season this month and it would be great if I could finish on a good note, I have a feeling that it might be my legs struggling to keep up with my lungs for a change!

Read more on how to improve cycling performance with POWERbreathe.

Keep checking back for more updates from me 🙂

Maxine Filby

James Doyle – POWERbreathe and Handball while suffering from Crohn’s disease

My name is James Doyle from Ireland and back in 2009 I became the only Irish Adult to win a World Small ball handball title (just Google James Doyle handball). Without a doubt POWERbreathe helped me achieve my World title. Just using POWERbreathe Classic for 15 minutes each day has seen a dramatic improvement in my fitness and has been a major factor in helping me win my World Title back in late 2009. The World championship takes place next October and I have started training for this last week.  I suffer from Crohn’s disease and can suffer a loss of energy but POWERbreathe can replace this loss. I have just started professional training for next year’s world’s and hope to try out the POWERbreathe Plus for this championship. Hopefully this will give me the edge to claim another title. I used the old Classic which has served me well and definitely helped me win.

Breathing difficulties when running

Anyone who is a keen runner will know that when out running it can sometimes be difficult to pull in enough oxygen to meet the demands their body is asking. Although this type of breathing difficulty is usually associated with someone who is out of shape, it can indicate a more serious problem if you are in shape and could be medically related.  It doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner to running or an expert runner, breathing difficulties can occur regardless of your age or weight.

Body process

When out running the most critical factor to ensure the body functions correctly is the respiratory system. In fact, whenever the body undergoes any form of physical exercise, the muscles require a significant amount of oxygen in order for them to function properly. For this to work our respiratory system has to work that much harder. Air is pulled into the body through the mouth or nose and then flows down the airways into the lungs. Once this air enters the lungs it then gets exchanged for carbon dioxide. After this final exchange the oxygen is then transported through the body to various muscles and organs, and the carbon dioxide is exhaled. Breathing problems can be caused by a number of problems in the lungs or airway passages.

Exercise induced asthma

Many runners will know exactly what exercise induced asthma is. This affects the airways and causes problems breathing.  This condition is caused when the airways tighten which in turn produces increased mucus. While out running when an exercise induced asthma episode occurs the runner will typically start wheezing, coughing and experience chest pain with every breath taken. As the asthma progresses, it becomes increasingly more difficult for the runner to catch their breath.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Also known as COPD, this condition is a combination of a few different lung diseases, which makes breathing an extremely difficult task. Emphysema, chronic bronchitis and chronic asthmatic bronchitis are the three main conditions known as COPD. Anyone who suffers from COPD will have such difficulty breathing even when not exercising or doing any form of physical activity. However, if someone attempts to run with this condition they will significantly increase the symptoms of COPD.

Anyone who suffers from breathing difficulties and wants to improve running performance should always consult a GP or physician before attempting any form of physical exercise including running.


Breathing exercises for your sports training

Breathing is a process which is critical to humans to stay alive as it is a process that helps us function properly. A process that does not require thinking it is just automatic and part of everyday life.  Breathing allows us to bring oxygen into our bodies then use the oxygen as energy. Although a simple process, there are many ways breathing can be inefficient for our bodies.

By adopting some simple breathing exercises we can improve the quality of our breathing and make it work more efficiently for us. Breathing is critical and without breath we will not survive. However, adopting some breathing exercise can help us maintain and regulate our breathing.

Breathing exercises have a dual purpose. By breathing properly it allows the body to get more oxygen with less effort, making every physical and mental activity more efficient throughout the day. Breathing exercises also help the body, mind and soul relax when under stress or when clarity is needed. Stress can be literally blown away with the breath and your breath is the safest of all places to focus your consciousness.

Breathing exercises can be done just about anywhere at any time. However, it is always best to choose a quiet place where you can sit or stand comfortably with your spine straight. Make sure you keep your eyes and chin on level with the horizon. It is important that you are in relaxed and loose clothing.

Learning Breathing

Learning breathing is important and the steps below explain some techniques for breathing exercises.

  1. When you are breathing it is imperative that you pay attention to your breath. Don’t try and alter the breathing pattern, just observe it.  If you do find yourself becoming distracted, gently focus back to what you are doing.  Every day, try and increase the length of time that you can do this and you will be on your way to great progress.
  2. Sit on a chair with your head bent down toward your knees. Inhale through your nose the deepest breath you can, making sure your belly presses into your legs and your body rises up. Your rib cage should get very wide. Exhale through your nose. Repeat this twenty times. Once complete sit up slowly, as you may be slightly dizzy from the breathing.
  3. Squeeze more air out on exhalation by using the muscles in between your ribs (the intercostal muscles). Exhale, and then squeeze more air out. Do this whenever you think about it. This will eventually lengthen the exhalation so that it matches inhalation and will encourage the body to draw in more and more air.
  4. Focused exhalation will encourage your body to bring more breath in. Breathing is like a cycle. You exhale to begin breathing which is the top of the circle. Inhaling finishes the breath and is the bottom half of the circle.  Make sure to squeeze your rib muscles and push all the air out of your lungs. Then breathe in to “reset” and begin the breath cycle again.

Stimulating Breath

Stimulating breathing exercises should be done in the morning to wake you up. If you feel tired as the day progresses, take a few minutes and stimulate your breath to increase your physical and mental energy. A great way of doing this is by practising some Yoga techniques. Put your tongue in the yogic position, on the ridge of hard tissue behind palate of your teeth. Yoga says that the energy systems of the body, positive and negative, connect at those two positions – the tongue and roof ridge. The technique is to breathe rapidly in and out through the nose with the mouth lightly closed. This should be as fast as possible and both your inhale and exhale should be noisy. Progress starting at 15 seconds and increasing by 5 seconds per day until you reach 1 minute.

Quickly Calming Breath

This is the breathing exercise that you should adopt if you are upset and want to calm yourself down quickly.  Observe the way you are breathing but don’t try and change it.  Focus on how you can make your breath deeper, quieter and slower, more importantly regulate your breathing pattern.  Focus on inhaling and exhaling and keep going until you notice a change in your breathing pattern and you feel at ease with yourself.

Breathing exercises are extremely important in everyday life as it helps calm you down and reduce stress and tension. In our everyday life we face many situations that put us under pressure. Anyone who participates in stamina related sports will know how important breathing exercises are for sports training. An athlete will suffer shortness of breath during training but by following these breathing exercises they will be able to control their breathing.

Image Source: Health Care Tips