How to Deal With Breathing Problems When Running


Many people suffer from breathing problems when exercising and sometimes they do not know where to go for the issue. Here are a few simple ways that can help you with your breathing difficulties when running.

Through the mouth or nose

Many beginner runners are not sure whether to breathe through their nose or through their mouth. The short answer to that question is through the mouth. Although you can breathe through your nose if you are going on a short, slow-paced run.

There is more to it than just that. Some people would rather go for a long and intense run where breathing through the mouth will improve their breathing massively. The reason for this is because it is far more efficient due to it allowing more oxygen to enter your body. Allowing oxygen means that it is providing more fuel for your muscles and getting the blood pumping more around the body.

Another benefit with inhaling and exhaling through the mouth can relax your face by relieving the tension and tightness in your jaw.


Focusing on your form for breathing is a very good way to control your breathing properly when running. Maintaining a good posture whilst running will definitely help with this. Running with a straight back and relaxing your shoulders will open up your chest and improve your breathing. Relax your shoulders down away from your ears and avoid hunching inhale and exhale the maximum amount of oxygen.

Aim for more rural areas

Going for a run in a city can be good but do not go at its busiest times as pollution will be at its peak. Pollution can affect your breathing massively so going for a run in the countryside where there are more trees and less cars can be good for you.

If you do not have the option of running in the countryside and you live in the city then pick off-peak times. Running early hours in the morning or later in the evening/ at night can be a lot better for you. Not only this but you will also bump into less people as well which makes your run a lot easier.

Diaphragmatic breathing

Many people might not understand what this is as it is a very technical term. This tends to be good for people who are always short for breath so it is something to consider if that is you. This is also good for people who suffer with side stitches when you are running.

The best way to practice this is belly breathing when you are laying down on your back. Then the next thing you should do is breath in through your nose, filling your stomach with air. Once your stomach has expanded, then push your chest down and out. One thing to make sure of is you make your exhales longer than your inhales.

Practice these before you start using this technique when you are running so you get your form right and make sure you are doing it correctly. Once you have mastered it inactive then include it when you are running and gradually pick up the pace.

Last but not least, pattern breathing

Pattern breathing is a simple yet very effective way to keep on top of your breathing whilst running. One of the best ways to do this is alternating your inhales and exhales on each foot. This puts less pressure on your diaphragm and balances the stress of both sides of your body upon impact.

Following a running pattern to assist with your breathing can be too complicated for some people and distract them. So try something different and pay attention to your breathing and get the rhythm of that instead.

Suffering from health conditions

Many people suffer from asthma or other health conditions which will affect their breathing when running. There are many factors that you should consider such as avoiding pollen and targeting warm weather.

Do not jump into the deep end too quickly as you need to give your lungs time to warm up before causing them too much stress. Learning other breathing techniques can also help massively if you are asthmatic. Remember to always take your inhaler with you in case of an emergency situation. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is another thing that people might have which will definitely affect their breathing quality when exercising. However, studies have found that taking vitamin D tablets can help with your breathing. But, if your COPD is really bad then you should speak to your doctor first before considering any form of exercise.

In Conclusion

Running can be difficult for some people, especially if you are new to it. So the best thing to do is not to complicate your running too much as this can affect your running as well. Just practice whilst you are resting and inactive.