3 Tips to Optimize Healthy Breathing Post-Workout

Some say the cool-down is the most important part of the workout. Maximize your workout’s benefits by following these tips for an effective cool-down.

Man running outside to get exercise


Catching your breath after a strenuous workout is harder than it sounds- especially if you have asthma. If you’ve been braving the Polar Vortex for outdoor workouts this winter, an increased level of humidity is especially important when recovering from the bitter air. Heating units suck moisture from indoor air, leaving residents to breathe dry air and risk irritating their lungs further after being outside in the cold. Combine this with the fact that when we exercise, we breathe faster and further dry out our airway linings- and you’ve got a potential recipe for an exercise-induced asthma attack.

Here are some tips to ensure that you get your second wind after a sweaty workout:

  1. Immediately after your workout, cool down and take deep breaths through your nose. As tempting as it may be to flop on your floor after a sprint to your doorstep, a proper cool down will gradually reduce your heart rate and bring your body back to its normal, pre-workout state. Wind down your muscles by doing a less strenuous version of your chosen exercise; for example, if you were jogging, walk for a few minutes, or if you were biking, pedal slowly in a low gear. Breathing through your nose warms and humidifies the air, which prevents the tightening of the lungs.
  2. Recover in a warm place with humid air. With the cold, dry air most of the country is currently experiencing, fitness fanatics are at high risk for constricting their air flows. According to Dr. Oz, cold, dry air can cause the lining of your lungs to crack and swell, which can bring on or worsen asthma. Completing your cool down in a place with warm, humid air will help you get your breath back safely. Using a humidifier to treat exercise-induced asthma is especially crucial for the winter months because there will be less drying and cooling of the airway lining, and thus, less release of the constrictor chemical. A natural humidifier that uses water rather than filters further simplifies the recovery process and ensures that you aren’t breathing unclean air.
  3. Strategize your post-workout meal. Finding a natural treatment for asthma might be as easy as opening your kitchen cabinet, according to Discovery Fit and Health. Foods such as chili peppers and onions open up airways and pair nicely with eggs to increase your protein in a post-workout omelet, while yogurt packs a high percentage of vitamin B12 (which relieves symptoms of asthma), and, when sprinkled with fresh berries, is an ideal combination of protein and carbohydrates for after a tough training session.

Although the dry winter air can be an obstacle, cold weather doesn’t have to prevent you from getting in a healthy sweat. By being wise about your post workout routine, you can easily come out of winter just as fit as you were before- and more ready than ever for swimsuit season.