Everyone knows that working out is good for your overall health. Did you know that proper breathing technique can make a big difference in how effective your workout will be for you? Breathing properly helps you maximize the impact of your workout, and it can help you recover faster. Here are five ways to get better workout results, just by paying attention to how you breathe.

Don’t Forget to Breathe While Lifting

Many of us see only the enormous weight we are trying to lift and we don’t think at all about how to breathe while lifting. We may completely forget to breathe. Exhale as you lift, and inhale as you lower the weight. Paying attention to your breath and consciously controlling the breath helps to lower your blood pressure and maximize results.

Don’t Gasp After A High Intensity Workout

When you complete that activity that really gets your heart racing and causes you to sweat, the natural tendency is to gasp through your mouth. This triggers a stress response in your body. It’s much better to take slow, deep breaths through your nose between high intensity workouts. This keeps you from triggering the sympathetic (fight or flight) response and instead the parasympathetic (more relaxing) system kicks in.

Don’t Breathe Using Only Your Chest

Most of us pay no attention to how we breathe, and we end up breathing only with our chest. Proper breathing expands the diaphragm, ribs, obliques, and transverse abdominals. Ideally, your abdominals should expand when you inhale and contract when you exhale. This deep breathing fills your lungs fully and keeps your lungs working at maximum capacity. Improper breathing reduces lung capacity.

Don’t Hold The Back of Your Head

After a workout, while trying to recover normal breath, lacing your fingers behind your head is a bad idea. It triggers your sympathetic nervous system, indicating a stress on the body. Breathing becomes harder. A better reaction is to lean over and place your hands on your knees. That allows your diaphragm to expand more easily so you get more air and recover faster.

Don’t Use Bad Posture

Slumping over is terrible if you’re trying to breathe properly. It causes the chest and diaphragm to be smaller and there’s less capacity for oxygen, making your workout less effective. Many of us slump over the computer and/or the phone, so it’s a bad habit. When we slump, our breathing is usually shallow. Shallow breathing is never a good idea while working out.