Werk Atleet

Breathe like an athlete

How are you doing?


“It’s already been two weeks since you attended the ‘Breathe like an Athlete’ session. I’m really curious to know which things you’ve already started applying from the session. Here’s some new inspiration and tips for you as well.”

The breath as a key to your stress-levels

In the session, we looked at the Autonomic Nervous System. Throughout the day, ideally, you want to switch between the action mode and the rest mode a few times. The beauty of the breath is that we can use it as a key. The way you breathe determines your state.

Many, fast, shallow breaths through the mouth towards the chest, with a focus on inhalation = sympathetic.

Less, calm, deep (with your diaphragm towards your belly), through the nose with a focus on exhalation = parasympathetic.

Over the next few weeks, we will focus on three dimensions of functional breathing. This week: Breathe Slowly.

Today, we can state (and research supports this) that it’s becoming more common for us to breathe too much. Hyperventilation keeps us constantly in the action mode and makes it difficult to produce energy (ATP) efficiently at the cellular level. One way to improve this is through the light breathing method we practiced two weeks ago. Light breathing helps maintain a balance between O2 and CO2. A method that complements this well is: breathing slowly. This exercise involves changing the pace of your breathing to six breaths per minute. Breathing slower helps restore the balance between the Parasympathetic and Sympathetic modes of the nervous system, improving physical and mental resilience. If this is new to you, it may feel somewhat suffocating. Remember: practice makes perfect!


The exercise:

During the exercise, you want to avoid going back to big, rapid breathing. Challenge yourself to breathe through your nose into your abdomen and continue to keep it light.

Sit upright on a chair or in a cross-legged position. Place both hands on either side of your belly at your lower ribs. Set a timer for 4 or 5 minutes.

As you inhale, feel your ribs move outward, and as you exhale, feel your ribs move inward.

Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds and exhale through your mouth or nose for 6 seconds. (If this is too challenging, inhale for 2 seconds and exhale for 4 seconds.)

It may help to play soothing music in the background and use the app mentioned in the previous inspirational email (“breathe!”).

"You do'nt always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go and see what happens".

– Mandy Hale-

Additional inspiritation

Book tip

A very beautiful book with practical exercises that is very easy to read.


An inspiring podcast about breathing


Would you like to help us

Team Werk Atleet always aims to deliver the best sessions for you. This is what we consider most important!

That’s why feedback is always welcome, and you can email it to: jeroen@werkatleet.nl

Because we want to transform as many employees in the Netherlands into athletes as possible, you would greatly assist us by leaving a Google Review. You can do this very easily through the button below.

Our gratitude is immense.


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