Cadence Breathing

I was reminded about Cadence Breathing during the spin-phase of tonight’s Boot Camp.  Coach Dudley taught me Cadence Breathing when I ran Cross Country in Junior High School. Cadence Breathing is very simple and I’ve used it often during different endurance events.

Let’s examine your resting cadence. Right now as you read these words, your cardiopulmonary system is following a very synchronized rhythm.  Your heart is beating steadily at one rate (you knew that) and your lungs are drawing in and absorbing oxygen at a matched rhythm. Let’s say your heart is beating 60 beats per minute and your lungs are taking in 12 breaths per minute.  You are literally inhaling once for every five heart beats.  Based upon your hemoglobin levels and several other factors, your brain has automatically calculated this synchronization between your heart and your lungs.

Have you ever jogged with another runner and listened to them gasp erratically for air?  It sounds painful doesn’t it?  Unless…YOU are that erratic, painful-sounding runner.  They (you) could run a lot easier and last a lot longer if they (you) used Cadence Breathing.

Cadence Breathing is simply a purposeful rhythm that you establish during cardiovascular exercise.  When I run, I subconsciously count my footsteps and purposefully exhale every four steps. (1 – 2 – 3 – exhale – 1 – 2 – 3 – exhale) I exhale as my foot lands on the fourth step. 
Swimmers use the exact same technique during various strokes.  I’m not a very strong swimmer but I learned how to conserve energy and last longer by turning my head on every fourth stroke rather than taking a breath on every single stroke. (All of you good swimmers can now say, “Duh!”) 
I rowed with the Manhattan College Crew Team on New York City’s Harlem River (I was seat #7 on the Heavy Weight Team).  It was dangerous and disgusting – dead squirrels, dogs and other toxic sludge. As a team, we learned to exhale on the pull phase of every stroke. Our goal was 40 – 50 strokes per minute with matching breaths. 
I also used Cadence Breathing for bike races during my triathlon years.  My pedal rhythm was approximately 80 – 90 revolutions per minute.  I exhaled every 2 revolutions thereby breathing 40 – 45 times per minute.  If my heart rate was at 160 beats per minute, I was getting 1 breath for every 4 heart beats.

Cadence Breathing allows your entire Oxygen transport system to get into an established rhythm.  The benefit for you is more efficient energy metabolism, getting your air with less effort and you’ll sound a lot more in control of your body as you move like the wind.

Cadence Breathing will help you SUCK IT UP!

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