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Breathe properly to walk effectively and keep calm!

Breathing, walking: these two movements seem so natural that we do them almost unconsciously. However, remember that you had to learn the right fitness and Nordic walking techniques, and the same goes for breathing. Breathing properly will make walking more comfortable and improve your stamina, but also help you to feel more relaxed in daily life. So breathe some well-being into your life!

Breathing correctly: essential for fitness walking

During your fitness or Nordic walking  session, you are concentrating on your arm movements, rolling out your foot correctly, maintaining a good posture for your back... Without even realising it, you might be holding your breath!

But it is at exactly this moment that your muscles need the most oxygen to keep you going!

To avoid becoming breathless, or getting the stitch in your side that rapidly follows, breathe deeply and regularly with your abdomen. If you do this, you will be using your lung capacity to its fullest and taking in the oxygen necessary for maintaining the effort. This will enable you to walk better and for longer!

Controlling your resting breathing with a breathing exercise

To train yourself to "breathe properly", practise at home when you are resting, or just before a session of fitness or Nordic walking.

1 - Lie down on your back

Relax and place one hand on your stomach.

 

2 - Breathe in through your nose, slowly and deeply

You will feel your abdomen fill with air, followed by your lungs.This expansion is due to the contraction of your diaphragm, a kind of elastic band located between your thorax and your abdomen.

 

3 - Breathe out through your mouth

Your diaphragm will relax, which will in turn push the air out of your lungs. Your abdomen will then deflate slowly.

By practising this exercise regularly, you will discover that it is also very effective for reducing everyday stress! Deep and conscious breathing will help you feel significantly calmer and more relaxed.

 

Breathing correctly for better posture and core strength

Cross-country walker Emmanuel Lassalle learned to dominate his breath during training. He translated the exercise above into his sporting practise and has noticed many benefits. "It helps to straighten up the body, which is vital for achieving the right posture for fitness walking and Nordic walking and prevents back pain."

Another benefit: breathing with the stomach in a conscious way also works the abdominal muscles! To work these muscles, don't hesitate to contract them slightly during the expiration phase.

 

Finding the right breathing rhythm for fitness walking or Nordic walking

Have you mastered abdominal breathing? Now work on your own breathing rhythm.

Because "there are as many ways of breathing as there are walkers!" according to Emmanuel Lassalle. Whereas, "personally, I pace my breathing to match the movements of my arms. I breathe in for three arm swing movements and breathe out for the next three," he says, but some other walkers prefer to time their breathing to their strides.

Find your tempo and appreciate the increase in your endurance. Above all, don't forget to start and end your session with a slower walking pace… this will allow you to recover your breath and your energy faster!

Do you have another breathing technique? Share it with us in a few words!

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