Optimum O2

September 17, 2008

A few days ago, my friend Chris showed up to a four-hour rehearsal after pedaling down the West Side Highway, parking his bike in Union Square, and jogging the last three-mile stretch to our Brooklyn studio. Maybe not the safest workout, given all that pavement-pounding, but he was doing something right—he strolled in barely out of breath.

     Cross-training is key for many dancers (see “Training Right” in our August issue), but do you ever find that no matter how much stamina you build in the studio, you’re still huffing and puffing when you jog or bike? You might just need a little fine-tuning in the way you breathe. On your next run, try inhaling for one step and exhaling for two, breathing quickly and deeply in through the nose and slowly out through pursed lips. This will help inflate your lungs to their fullest capacity and empty them all the way out, maximizing your oxygen intake. Plus, the one-two rhythm (I’ve found) gets you into a groove. Panting on a steep uphill ride? Increase the speed and force of your breathing, but try to stay relaxed; extra tension just eats up more energy.