Breathing & breezing through your Barre classes

Updated: Mar 2

Okay, so I can’t guarantee that anything will help you breeze through a Barre workout but getting control of your breathing can definitely help you to leave the stresses of daily life at the door (in the current case, the zoom door) and fully focus on giving 100% to your workout.

In amongst trying to hold the correct form (not letting your tailbone start to creep back behind you, not collapsing through you core, lengthening out through your spine and keeping your eye-line out in front), whilst trying to keep going to reach the final set of pulses, you’ll probably find that you’re actually holding your breath (willing me to start counting down the final 8!). This is what we want to avoid happening so let me take you through a few of the benefits of breathing properly during exercise;

Firstly, how should you breathe whilst exercising? 

Generally speaking, you want to inhale through your nose so the air enters your belly and exhale through your mouth. Your inhale comes on the muscle-lengthening movement and the exhale comes during the muscle-shortening movement. The muscle-shortening movement is generally the part of the exercise that requires the most exertion. Exhaling during this movement lets you take advantage of the natural contraction of the abdominal muscles which means you’re more engaged through your body and there’s every chance you can keep going for that little bit longer!

Secondly, what are the benefits?

Focusing on taking deep breaths in this way naturally slows your heart rate and stabilises blood pressure, allowing the “fight-or-flight” part of your nervous system (sympathetic) to calm down and the “rest & digest” nervous system (parasympathetic) to relax the body. Focusing on slow and stable breathing when our muscles are under stress teaches our bodies to be stable, confident and capable during times of stress.

With people taking on all sorts of different stresses in daily life, your body spends a whole lot of time in this “fight-or-flight” mode. Squeezing in an hour of exercise should be a time that not only allows you to bring some movement through the body but should also be a time when you can switch off and bring yourself back to a calm state. Low impact methods of exercise like Barre, really allow you to pull these 2 elements together, whilst also giving you a THOROUGH full-body workout - what’s not to love!

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