|Just because you do it all the time doesn't mean you can't improve your breathing. Indeed, fine-tuning this basic instinct can make you a better athlete: Deep, rhythmic breathing slows your heart rate and thus improves performance. So if you're looking to hone your aerobic abilities, try practicing these breathing methods:
Breathing from deep within your belly, not your chest, most effectively utilizes the diaphragm, drawing more oxygen into your lungs and thus allowing you to push your pace harder. Before hitting a hill that typically leaves you gasping, take five deep breaths-watch to see that your stomach expands on each inhalation-and you'll feel the difference.
The harder we work, the more we want to pant, which increases blood pressure and muscular tension. Fight the urge to hyperventilate by establishing a breathing rhythm. Many runners find this by exhaling on every other stride.
The thinner air at high altitude saps your energy when you exercise. Those who train above sea level would do well to follow this strategy: Inhale deeply through your nose, and then forcefully exhale all your breath. The result is a vacuum-like effect that helps your next breath be bigger.