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Vitae Vi's Wim Hof Method Workshop Set-Up at the WOW Clinic in Westbourne

Oxygen Advantage and how it can support you in Sports Performance!

This blog will outline how to control your breathing to boost your performance and achieve greater results!


We learnt today that 2% of the UK population have signed up for the London Marathon! An incredible statistic!

Since starting our Oxygen Advantage training we’ve really come to understand what a powerful tool functional breath is, provided it is practiced correctly. Functional breath is the way we breathe day-to-day. 



Dan Hughes at the WOW Clinic using Breathwork techniques to warm up after an ice bath.
Dan Hughes using breathwork to warm up!


Along with all the health & well-being benefits of functional breathing, covered in our other Blog articles, it can also be used for turbo-charging sports performance and, perhaps more importantly, the recovery afterwards.


Something that top-level sports men and woman are beginning to tap into, in addition to their psychologists, nutritionists, physiotherapists, fitness & performance coaches (not an exhaustive list – we also learnt this week that some of the top golfers have a team of 12 coaches, including sleep coaches, visualisation specialists, massage therapists, swing specialists, putting experts…the list goes on!). 


Functional breathing can be a powerful tool to support sports performance by enhancing various physiological and psychological aspects of all athletic or cardio activity – essentially for any exercise that increases your heart-rate.


Important note! When we refer below to “athletes” and “sports performance”, we are talking about normal people like you (and us!) – people who have entered the London Marathon ballot, enjoy a Park Run, love playing tennis, active ramblers, or are a part of a local cycling club.

There are numerous ways in which breathwork can positively impact sports performance, our favourites are listed below:


Reduced Stress Response 

Deep breathing exercises can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation and reducing the body's stress response. This can be beneficial for athletes or those looking to enhance performance by lowering anxiety levels before having to perform, before competitions, games or events and helping in recovery after intense workouts.


Improved Oxygen Utilisation

Breathwork techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing – only activated by using the nose – coupled with controlled breath patterns can improve oxygen intake and utilisation. This can massively enhance aerobic capacity and endurance during activities like running, swimming, or cycling. Believe it or not, big & deep breaths actually starve your body tissues of oxygen! 


Enhanced Focus and Concentration

Certain breathwork techniques, such as rhythmic breathing or mindfulness-based breathing, can improve focus and concentration. Athletes can use these techniques to maintain mental clarity during training and particularly before competition – slowing everything down, becoming peaceful and providing a break from the mental chatter!


Regulation of Energy Levels

Breathwork can influence the body's energy systems, helping athletes regulate their energy levels during different phases of training or competition. Techniques like breath control can be used to increase or decrease arousal levels and therefore energy release as needed.


Management of Performance Anxiety

Many elite athletes are open about it and everyone at some point experiences performance anxiety (I’ve not trained enough… I’m not as good as my competitors…what if… etc.), which can negatively impact performance. Breathwork techniques such as box breathing or alternate nostril breathing can calm the mind and reduce anxiety, allowing athletes to perform at their best under pressure.


Optimised Recovery

Controlled breathing can aid in recovery by promoting efficient removal of the waste and toxins produced by exercise. Correct breathing enhances circulation which further promotes the removal of waste. This helps in reducing muscle fatigue and promoting faster recovery after workouts.


Improved Recovery from Injury

For athletes recovering from injuries, certain breathwork practices can assist in pain management, relaxation, and maintaining overall well-being during the rehabilitation process. It is also the case that some of the easy ‘stressor’ breath exercises give the same effect as a cardio workout, so those injured can keep up to date with their fitness training, albeit in a very different way to what they consider might be normal. 


Increased Body Awareness

Finally, breathwork practices, by paying close attention to the breath and following the body’s sensations, enhances body awareness, which is crucial for athletes to optimise movement patterns and prevent injuries. It is a powerful tool to understand and listen to your body. If you do, you are far less likely to overtrain, workout on the days when you shouldn’t or need to have a rest… we’ve all experienced the guilt, but actually being mindful of what your body needs is vital for overall performance. 


To incorporate breathwork into sports performance effectively, athletes can work with coaches or specialised trainers who understand the connection between breath, physiology, and athletic performance.

Developing a personalised breathwork routine that aligns with an athlete's specific sport and goals can yield significant benefits in terms of performance, recovery, rest and overall well-being.


Incidentally, many of the techniques and methods of functional breath we practice and coach can be translated into pretty much every walk of life.


From youngsters who have become mouth-breathers due to poor posture and too much screen time, teenagers approaching exams, young adults taking their first job interview, individuals recovering from illness or dealing with a chronic condition, stressed executives, burnout board members and businesses who care about their team's well-being – let’s talk about the ways we can help you perform at your best.


We’ll be releasing our functional breath training classes very soon. If you’re keen to learn more, ping us a message on social media or email hello@vitaevi.co.uk


And now just breathe… light, slow and deep, in through the nose… and exhale…  

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Vitae Vi's Wim Hof Method class at the WOW Clinic in Westbourne

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