Breathing exercises for athletes - BelievePerform - The UK's leading Sports Psychology Website

Breathing exercises for athletes

This practical step by step guide can be used in classroom and educational environments to illustrate how athletes can prepare themselves and get ready to conduct breathing exercises.

In this infographic our mental fitness experts provide in-depth instructions that cover deep breathing and diaphragmatic breathing whilst outlining the benefits these breathing exercises have upon the body and our mental health.

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Understanding the basics

  1. Find a comfortable position.
  2. Find a breathing technique that works for you.
  3. Breathe slowly.
  4. Use an alarm to control duration.
  5. Timings of 5 minutes can be a good starting point.
  6. Don’t rush what you are doing.

Deep breathing

  1. Sit or lie in a comfortable position.
  2. Breathe out slowly through your mouth and hold for 3 counts.
  3. Take a deep breath through your nose and hold for about 5 seconds.
  4. Repeat again.

Diaphragmatic breathing

  1. Find a quiet place.
  2. Start to become aware of how fast or slow you are breathing.
  3. Put one hand on your chest and one on your abdomen just below your rib cage.
  4. As you breathe in allow your abdomen to rise. Keep your mouth closed and breathe in through your nose.
  5. As you breathe out through your nose allow your abdomen to flatten whilst keeping your chest as still as possible.
  6. Allow your breathing to become smooth and regular.

The benefits of breathing for athletic performance

  • Release tension
  • Relieves pain
  • Reduces stress
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Strengthens lungs
  • Improved oxygen delivery
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Muscle relaxation
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