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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 05-03-08, 11:36 AM   #1
SandraL
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breathing problems???

Hi all,

3 weeks ago I started riding again. This is my 3rd year on a bike and It is going way better than it was at the end of last summer. The last few days have been very windy and I had problems breathing. I had to stop two times to allow myself to recover. Since I'm more confident on a bike, I'm going a little bit faster too. My question is: Should I slow down? or is there a specific technique for breathing while riding? Does anyone does any breathing excercises?
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Old 05-03-08, 01:58 PM   #2
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I would assume that it should be just like any other form of exercise. If you have a hard time talking while doing it you are doing it to hard. Of course it depends on what exactly you are trying to when you exercise. If you do not have a heart rate monitor I would get one and keep and eye on where you are at in your range. If you are just cycling to lose weight then you are probably doing it to hard.
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Old 05-03-08, 02:08 PM   #3
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Slow down into a low gear in the wind.
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Old 05-03-08, 05:37 PM   #4
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Keep going and ignore the burning lung pain. I'm not joking.

I started commuting to work after ten years in front of a computer and for the first week I squeaked as I breathed after a ride. Now after two full months of commuting and extra cycling I just sound like a phone sex deviant after and expensive call. I imagine in another two months I'll be able to speak to people I come across rather than just panting at them.
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Old 05-03-08, 05:59 PM   #5
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Like any exercise, you adjust your breathing to match what you're doing and vice versa.
Being totally out of breath is not a bad thing in itself, but it likely means your heart is maxed out as well, which you may not be aware of.

I got more used to breathing heavy while hiking in Colorado. One thing I learned is that when you see the hill coming, start breathing more. Don't wait till you're totally deprived of oxygen and then try to catch up. When you top the hill, keep breathing heavy until you just don't feel the need. Try to breath deeper, not just faster. I find myself breathing in rhythm with my walking or pedaling, although I'd be hard put to say it was any better that way. Mostly, you (edit) SHOULDN'T just be completely out of breath, or you're going too fast.

Just a thought as well. They always say you should see your doctor before starting any kind of exercise. If you haven't, it might be worth a visit. It IS possible to have a heart attack while riding, even for people who are fairly fit otherwise. Our local mountainbike trail has a memorial to one such man.
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Last edited by StephenH; 05-04-08 at 06:49 PM.
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Old 05-04-08, 06:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SandraL View Post
Hi all,

3 weeks ago I started riding again. This is my 3rd year on a bike and It is going way better than it was at the end of last summer. The last few days have been very windy and I had problems breathing. I had to stop two times to allow myself to recover. Since I'm more confident on a bike, I'm going a little bit faster too. My question is: Should I slow down? or is there a specific technique for breathing while riding? Does anyone does any breathing excercises?
I don't do anything but breathe normally, using my core muscles. The easy way for me to get out of breath is to try to use a bigger gear than I'm ready for. I don't do this because if I want to go fast, it's easier to spin in a small gear. If the spinning gets "too easy" then I can go to a higher gear and spin *that*.

If your lungs feel like they've gotten smaller, are clogged with goo, or otherwise feel odd during exercise, see a doctor. You may have exercise induced asthma, or just plain old asthma.

If you didn't do much exercise before you started biking, your body may not be used to the demands you're putting on it. When I started, I could walk 5-10 miles in a day. I couldn't bike more than about 5 miles in a day, and I'd be far more exhausted from that than a 5 mile walk. It would take me several days to have any energy afterwards. A year later, I can walk 5 miles or bike 20, and they're about the same amount of effort.
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Old 05-04-08, 08:44 AM   #7
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If your lungs feel like they've gotten smaller, are clogged with goo, or otherwise feel odd during exercise, see a doctor. You may have exercise induced asthma, or just plain old asthma.
+1

For a number of years (since being a kid really) I assumed that having difficulty breathing was due to being overweight and unfit. While this is obviously a factor, for me it's partially 'atopic asthma' too - with exercise being one of the things that kicks it off. I only found out after visiting friends with some long haired cats which seriously affected my ability to breathe - before that it'd never been bad enough to get checked out.

After spending a week with a peak flow meter (and visiting some cats again) I was confirmed with mild asthma and given a regular salbutamol (ventolin) inhaler. When exercising (or around cats ) it makes a world of difference.
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Old 05-04-08, 01:11 PM   #8
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I actually had that issue for years, about a year ago my doc gave me an inhaler to use when exercising. I dont' use it all that often, only when I know I'm going to stretch myself when exherting beyond my comfortable max (i.e. not my AM rides, but longer rides).
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Old 05-04-08, 01:51 PM   #9
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Obviously, if you have trouble breathing while riding to the point that you have to stop to recover before you go on, you need to have yourself looked at by a medical doctor. It's one thing to argue infinitely on bike forums about the esoteric and mostly meaningless differences between tires widths and other things. It's stupid and pointless, but it's harmless except to one's pocketbook. But someone who self-treats such things as breathing problems may find it is cured bery effectively by a funeral. You just might need to get more fit more gradually, or you may have some asthma you didn't know you had, but it's not something to be guessing about on a bike forum.
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Old 05-05-08, 06:40 AM   #10
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I'd second (third) the advice to see a doctor -- with the caveat that with experience, you can get a better sense of when a trip to the doctor is really needed. What you're feeling could be the simple effect of having been idle for a time and consequent loss of aerobic fitness, it could be caused by pollen or another irritant, or it could be something more serious. Whatever, I don't think you do yourself any good if you try to push through that lung-tearing feeling, except mmmmaybe if you do have some training in breath techniques and can adjust your breathing to deeper breathing (but it sounds like this isn't you). Go see a doctor.
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Old 05-05-08, 07:28 AM   #11
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Also remember that when it is very windy air quality goes way down and breathing in all that crap can make it difficult to breathe.
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Old 05-06-08, 12:59 PM   #12
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Thanks all for your advice and comments

I know I should see a doctor. I should've done that time ago.
After reading all the comments, I just realized that I haven't think on asthma. I never had asthma even though it runs in my family, but now that it was mentioned I remember that I had sinuses problems while I was a kid, and probably still have.
I also snore very loud...Maybe that doesn't have anything to do with riding and breathing.

I also didn't do any exercise before started riding. Probably a combination of many factors.

Anyway, I went for a ride today again. Beautiful day. I went very slow, so slow that it was even bored. But paid more attention to my body. I went faster just to feel any change and yes, as soon as I stopped at a red light, I could even feel my heart pumping on my head.

yeah, I'll go to see my doctor. Meanwhile I'll ride slower and if possible every day instead of every other day.
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