We often take the process of breathing for granted, but have you ever thought about how it can influence your run or perhaps improve your ability? Our bodies use a process called aerobic respiration to generate energy during activities. This process requires oxygen so wouldn’t it make sense to be aware of our intake of oxygen and to make sure our oxygen intake is sufficient?
As humans begin to exercise abruptly, we almost immediately increase our respiratory demands to meet the metabolic needs of our muscles. According to Human Anatomy & Physiology, this is process is called hyperpnea. This is not the same as hyperventilation which is characterized by alkalosis. The process of hyperpnea gradually increases the body to a comfortable rate and then maintains a steady state.
During exercise, runners rely on a few muscle groups to allow the expansion of the thoracic cage (known to layman as the rib cage). The muscle involved in this area is the thoracic diaphragm—the muscle below your lungs, separating the chest cavity and the abdominal cavity, and the intercostals which are between the ribs. During vigorous exercise runners recruit more muscle groups to achieve the greater thoracic volume. The muscles included in this region are the sternocleidomastoid, and scalenes which are located in the anterior neck, the pectoralis minor of the chest, and the postural muscles of the back (erector spinae).
With this information it’s important to make the most of your run by focusing on the tips below.
Running is good for our overall health. Both your mind and body benefit from a good run. It is imperative to understand how the demands on our body change as we exercise vigorously. In doing this, runners can optimize their workout and make every run a good run.
Source: Marieb, E., & Hoehn, K. (2010). Human Anatomy & Physiology (8th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pearson Benjamin Cummings