I've been having problems breathing while working out.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 04, 2010 7:28 AM GMT
    I've been having major difficulty breathing while lifting weights. I just get so short of breath. I've been taking things more slowly, trying to wait for longer periods between sets and between exercises, etc., but the problem has been getting worse to the point where I stopped doing HIIT and switched to doing more slow-paced endurance cardio. Beginning of last month/end of the month before I tried just taking a break (maybe 2 or 3 weeks) but it didn't seem to help. I just got back from a session where I almost passed out while working abs. I really don't know what else to do to improve the situation! Any advice? icon_sad.gificon_sad.gificon_sad.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 04, 2010 7:34 AM GMT
    First and foremost, have you gone to a physician and had a baseline examination performed to make sure that you do not have any kind of medical situation which could become very serious from physical exertion?

    If you've gotten clearance from a doctor and your "fit as a fiddle", do you do cardio as a warm up and to increase the capacity of your cardiovascular system to more more oxygen around during exertion?

    Do you smoke anything? If so, quit.

    Those are the things that come to mind. Hope it helps!

    Aloha and Be Well!
    Alan
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 04, 2010 12:44 PM GMT
    the 2-3 week rest was a good idea: this sort of thing CAN happen from overtraining. Go to the doctor, make sure that you are OK in their terms.

    Are you holding your breath when you lift? It sounds like you are pushing yourself anaerobic all the time. Just a few seconds of breath holding like that can push you over the edge.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 04, 2010 2:08 PM GMT
    I had the same problem, used to be fine being able to do everything, I'd get outta breath but would catch it again pretty quickly, although only really happened on leg days with squats and such..

    it went from being great to being okay to being really bad to the point where I'd feel like my chest was being stood on by an elephant every time I tried to take a breath and if I kept pushing I'd develop a horrible cough that would suddenly kick in and be uncontrollable, heh trying taking that one, you feel intense pain every time you breath and then getting an uncontrollable cough to go with it, NOT FUN

    turned out the Asthma I had as a kid had resurfaced as an adult while working out, I'd possibly stayed under that line for a few years working out but as I got more and more capable and started pushing my self harder and harder I reached back up and my body couldn't handle it or at least thats the theory from my doctor.

    You should go see someone about it, they might be able to help you, I'm an odd case and it took a while to find the right stuff that worked for me, in comparison to someone who is about the same size and fitness level as me I'm 24% above normal these days (124% lung capacity which is apparently close to or just within the capacity of an athlete or something, first test I was 111%) and I've an oxygen metabolic with in 84 to 97% depending on what I'm doing and how hard I'm working, 89% at rest (I think I got that, it's how much oxygen you take in compared to how much CO2 you breath out) which is apparently incredible for someone of my fitness level and my breathing problems.

    And all this even after smoking for gawd how ever many years and not being fit and healthy for so long.

    Get it checked out not by your GP but by someone who specialises in the lungs, they can performs numerous tests, you could also be sent to a cardiologist who will be able to check the the heart is functioning correctly.

    Or it could just be a really simple case of a slight chest infection that isn't producing any symptoms except under duress.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 04, 2010 3:34 PM GMT
    I’ve never smoked anything, I do warm-up cardio for 5 minutes beforehand (perhaps I should extend it), and I haven’t had a physical since 2006, which only turned up slightly below-average blood pressure. I noticed I would hold my breath while lifting (kind of like the evil Tyra, breathing has never been wholly unconscious for me), which I’ve been doing much better about, so that issue might be contributing to it but is probably not the whole explanation.

    I’d guess that my blood pressure is even lower than back then, but from what I’m reading at the Mayo Clinic, shortness of breath isn’t a symptom. I did have childhood asthma, so maybe it’s like liltanker, although this chart suggests I might be hyperventilating (it’s the only option that matches my symptoms), which is sort of the opposite of what I was thinking. I’m really hoping to avoid going to a doctor =/

    Thanks guys =)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 04, 2010 3:36 PM GMT


    listen to your body,
    perhaps you have enuf muscle,
    and don't need to hold it any tighter.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 04, 2010 3:49 PM GMT
    All of these recommendations regarding health issues are good; it never hurts to have a medical check-up, something you should do anyway, regardless of this problem.

    You might also consult with a personal trainer, have an evaluation of your technique done. He/she might observe whether your form is bad, in that you're simply not breathing properly.

    Some people don't know how to take good breaths during lifts. It's like learning breath control during swimming, or while singing. or playing a wind instrument, for that matter. You may simply be neglecting to breathe fully during moments of physical exertion, a common problem.

    So see a doctor to eliminate a medical cause, and have someone evaluate you while you workout. You may merely be suffering from bad breath technique.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 04, 2010 3:49 PM GMT
    It's possibly adult-onset asthma. Your doctor would know for sure. If so, it's easily treatable and you hopefully wouldn't need to see a pulmonologist. Typically the nature of the constriction might, but not always be a clue. I grew up with severe asthma and chronic bronchitis. With asthma you often feel more like you cannot empty your lungs enough to get that next breath. When it was the onset of bronchitis, it was often the opposite sensation, not being able to get the air in. Is there audible wheezing? If you hear it only when you breath out, it's more likely asthma. Your doctor will make the determination, but this will give you something to occupy yourself with until you're able to see him/her. I'm not sure if doctors still recommended this, but I was always taught that slow, pursed lip breathing sometimes can help an episode pass. Or maybe it just gives you something to do while it passes on its own, lol.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 04, 2010 4:11 PM GMT
    It could be anything from incorrect breathing to heart problems. Only a doctor can make the call.
    If it still happens after following the doctor's orders, see a different doctor.
  • mtneerman

    Posts: 476

    May 04, 2010 4:13 PM GMT
    you definitely see your dr. i never had asthma as a kid but was hit by it at 36, and like you it started out as a nuisance when working out or running, or if i was around smokers. you might try diaphramatic breathing, where your stomach raises and falls when you breath and not your chest, but still go see your dr. if you don't need a referral i would see a pulmonologist. i dealt with my regular dr over 2 yrs with little relief before seeing one. some GP's are not very knowledgable in this area.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 04, 2010 4:48 PM GMT
    I agree with everything said above. It is important to go see a Doctor. It is amazing how many men who have problems never go see a doctor about them. Having regular checkups can help you to achieve optimum health and not have a lot of the problems that we see here on RJ.
  • Mako_Shark

    Posts: 222

    May 04, 2010 5:29 PM GMT
    I'm 27 years old and was just diagnosed with excercise-induced athsma. I was put on an inhaler that I use just prior to working out... problem solved, no more wheezing and coughing and difficult breathing while working out.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 04, 2010 5:30 PM GMT
    I too couldnt breathe when I started. I had my heart and lungs checked. Normal. What it turned out to be was that my chest muscled just weren't strong enough to work my chest like a bellows so the lungs could suck in air. I just had to work out slowly and give the chest a chance to grow in strength. Now I have no problems, other than normal out of breath due to working out.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 23, 2010 4:02 PM GMT
    Getting checked for exercise induced asthma or asthma is worth it. When I was in 10th grade I developed that condition, I was so sick at our regional x country champs I really had to dig deep just to finish. I had to be taken to the ER in the middle of BFE, I got a diagnosis and taking a rescue inhaler before I ran made all the difference. I also used to get a lot of upper respiratory infections, sinus infections, and bronchitis.

    My body has switched back to "normal" I haven't needed an inhaler in almost 10 years, and I've only had one cold in the past 2 years. The big difference for me was switching my diet...I quit drinking alcohol and processed meats and started eating lots of antioxidant packed foods and drinking a lot of hot tea.

    Hope you get the issue resolved soon. I know how bad it sucks not to be able to breathe, especially if you're a type A person like me who likes to work out hard.