Why Does Breathing Matter?

Why Does Breathing Matter?

 By: Eric Reiher, Head of Algorithms and Triathlete

How your OMbra uses breathing to measure your biometrics more precisely.

When you set out for a run, there are plenty of technicalities to think about-- how long your strides should be, where to hold your arms, whether you should land heel-to-toe or vice versa. But there is one thing some runners fail to pay attention to: the way you breathe.

Breathing Takes Energy

Breathing during a run takes up to 15 percent of your energy reserve. Your diaphragm--the huge, dome-shaped muscle at the bottom of your rib cage-- is what uses this energy, pumping out the old carbon dioxide and feeding your muscles with new oxygen. This ability to supply oxygen and remove waste through your breath is what affects your performance.

For a runner with poor breathing habits, the proper evacuation of CO2 from the lungs is not permitted, limiting the amount of O2 fed to the muscles. Our muscles give us energy, so when we fail to feed them properly, they fail to feed us--the result being a lethargic, energy-deprived run.

Many runners also tend to breathe very fast, decreasing the efficiency of breath as the air has less time to properly perform this gas exchange. For most efficient breathing and an adequate energy reserve for your run, slow down your breath. This will leave you with more energy, allowing your body to absorb more O2 while expelling more CO2 per breath.

Breathing Rhythm Should be Natural

In order to control the 15 percent of energy used during breathing, your breathing patterns during easy and moderately paced runs should be in sync with your steps. A common rhythm for these runs is the 3:2 pattern--three steps for each inhale, two steps for each exhale--where your breathing is natural, comfortable and steady.

But, as you run faster, the number of steps per minute increases. You are forced to change gears, departing from your original 3:2 pattern into a faster breathing rhythm in attempt to keep your steps aligned with your breath. Don’t fret--this shift is natural and forcing yourself to breathe in a way contrary to what your body asks for will result in poor performance. Instead, acknowledge your body’s innate ability to make this shift during higher intensities and let your natural breath give you accurate insights.

Breathing Gives Insight

Your Fitbit, Garmin or Polar wearables are feeding you biometrics solely based on your heart rate. Although HR is a valuable input to your biometrics, it only simply estimates your intensity thresholds. So why use estimates when you can get real, personalized values?

Using smart textiles located in the prime location to measure torso expansion, your OMbra will show you accurate breathing patterns instead of just estimated heart rate. By harnessing your breathing patterns, you are gaining further, more insightful biometrics to what intensity level you should be training in.

Breathing Into Your Smart Zones

Your Ventilatory Threshold (VT) and your Anaerobic Threshold (AT) are the cornerstones of our Smart Zones, using your breathing to measure these critical thresholds. Your VT occurs within your Endurance Zone, when your breathing starts to accelerate faster than your heart rate, but you can still talk comfortably. Your AT is the point at which your breathing becomes almost out of control, when you are unable to form sentences and probably nearing the verge of hyperventilation.

Read: “The New Age of Smart: Running Within Your Zones” for more about your Smart Zones and these two intensity thresholds.

Calculated precisely based on your biometrics from your runs, these zones are not just numbers estimated with your given age or heart rate. They represent real, physiological differences in the way your body is performing and how it is in turn producing (or failing to produce) energy.

Measurements that used to be reserved to expensive exercise physiology labs can now be found within the seams of your OMbra. Through precise and personalized insights at your fingertips, your sports bra can now guide you in understanding a pace and breathing rhythm to optimize your training


Why does breathing matter?

 How can I have more efficient breathing?

How can the OMbra help me with my breathing?



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