Werk Atleet

Breathe like an athlete

How is it going?


It’s already been for 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 along the way. Below you will find the slides from Tanja’s last session.

The breath as a key to your stress levels

In the session, we looked at the Autonomic Nervous System. Throughout the day, ideally, you should switch between the action mode and the rest mode several times. The beauty of breathing is that we can use it as a key to achieve this. 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 abdomen), through the nose with a focus on exhalation = parasympathetic.

In the coming weeks, we will focus on three dimensions of functional breathing. This week:
Breathe Light

The exercise “breathe light” involves reducing the volume of air you inhale to create a slight, manageable “air hunger.” Air hunger is the feeling that you want to breathe more deeply or that you are not getting quite enough air.

Achieving slight air hunger means that CO2 accumulates in the blood. One of the functions of CO2 is that it acts as a catalyst to release oxygen from the red blood cells so it can enter the cells. In addition, it causes your blood vessels to open, which lowers your blood pressure. So, it’s a double win!

  • Here is the exercise:
  • Sit up straight or lie on your back
  • If you are sitting, imagine a string gently pulling your head up towards the ceiling.
  • Place your hands on your chest and belly
  • Observe how the breath enters your nose
  • Begin to reduce the speed of each breath. The breathing should be light, soft, and quiet
  • Slow down your breath so you barely feel air going in and out.
  • The goal is to create air hunger; your breathing should be much less than when you started
  • If you feel stressed or think you are losing control because the air hunger is too great, take a break for 20 or 30 seconds and start again
  • Do this exercise for a total of 4 minutes

“Breathing deeply and freely is the key to unlocking the fullness of life.”

Additonal inspiration

Book tip


“The Wim Hof Method” book delves into the unique practices of Wim Hof, focusing on cold exposure, breathing techniques, and mindset. Hof’s breathing exercises are designed to improve physical and mental health by regulating body temperature, enhancing the immune system, and boosting energy levels. The method draws on the ancient tradition of breath control, emphasizing the significance of breathing in both wellness and spiritual practices. Through this book, readers learn to apply these techniques for increased bodily control and awareness, tapping into the potential for personal transformation.


Learn from the master: James Nestor

Would you like to help us?

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

Therefore, feedback is always welcome, and you can email it to: jeroen@werkatleet.nl

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Our gratitude is immense ❤️

Boeken tip

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