Just Breathe road sign illustration designIt may seem simple, but many people stop breathing when they’re performing an exercise. When you’re pushing through a hard weight set or plank variation, its actually quite simple to stop breathing normally without realizing. However, it’s not a good habit to have.

“The easiest way to get hurt when working out is surprisingly simple: it’s by not breathing properly. ”Incorrect breathing” during exercise means holding your breath, breathing too shallow or breathing too fast,” says Jenilee Matz of AFGFitness.com.

So how do you ensure proper breathing during your workout? Here are a few important tips.

Be Conscious of It

The first step in remembering to breathe when you work out is being conscious of it. Remind yourself to check in by setting a certain moment to stop and check. For example, after my third rep I’ll stop for a second and make sure I’m breathing. Continue checking in until you get better at remembering without it.

Use the Proper Breathing Techniques

Woman working out at the gymBreathing techniques are different for various types of workouts. For example, how you breathe when you’re running on the treadmill should be different from how you breathe when doing bicep curls. Below a short description for each, but you can read Just Breathe: Breathing Techniques For Your Exercise for more details.

Weightlifting: Breathe in through your nose when you contract your muscle (the up part of a curl) and out through your mouth during the extension (when you bring your arm back to start).

Running: Utilize the belly breathing technique at a ratio of 2:2—breathe in every two steps then breathe out the next two. “Belly breathing keeps your blood pressure low and allows for better oxygen delivery to your muscles. To do it, simply breathe in deeply enough so your belly (not your chest) rises, then falls as you exhale,” says Matz.

Stretching: Breathe slowly and calmly; this ensures that your blood is flowing steadily to the muscles that need it for the stretch.

Find Your Own Rhythm

Everyone is different, and not everyone falls naturally within these confines of proper techniques, so allow yourself to find a rhythm. Start slow and see where your breath falls between reps or steps on the treadmill.

However, if you start to feel dizzy, faint or get a headache, improper breathing could be hampering your workout. Stop, consider the proper technique, and see if you can adapt closer to that style to avoid injury.