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Breathing: Walking Exercises

Remember –

If you have oxygen, check with your physician about the correct amount to use when you are walking.

Do not attempt to walk and talk while beginning your exercise program.

Inhale through your nose and exhale through pursed lips.

Exhale at least twice as long as you inhale. Don’t force the air out exhalation.


1.    Start with short walks. Your breathing muscles and your walking muscles need to get into shape.

2.    Use “rhythmic breathing.” Count the number of steps you take while inhaling and double the number of steps for exhalation. Example: 2 steps – inhale, 4 steps – exhale. Do not change the rhythm from inhalation to exhalation.

3.    With practice you may find that a 3 to 1 rhythm is more comfortable than 2 to 1. Use the rhythm that is most comfortable for you.

4.    Gradually increase your walking distance as you get stronger. Try to add a little more distance every week. Don’t overextend yourself.

5.    Set reasonable goals. Plan rest stops. Don’t allow yourself to get overtired.

6.    During inclement weather, or times of the year when you’re most uncomfortable, you can get your exercise in climate-controlled areas like shopping malls or in a more formal environment like a hospital’s rehabilitation centet.

7.    Remember, go slow, don’t rush, get stronger and most of all, enjoy yourself.


Check with your physician before beginning this or any exercise program.

To learn more about these special breathing exercises, see the stories listed under Breathing: Overview in the Library Index.

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Last modified: January 10, 2004