If you are experiencing shortness of breath during exercise, your body could be telling you many different things! And let me Let me emphasise, if you are, then you should seek out medical attention as soon as possible!

Prior to meeting with your doctor, write down which exercises, under what conditions, and how long were you exercising before the onset of the shortness of breath.  This can help you and your doctor to formulate an effective exercise plan, based on of the results of your physical exam.

Things to consider


Shallow Breathing

Shallow breathing is common in exercising, especially with people who are starting out on a running program.  This is when you are not drawing in enough air to properly oxygenate your body.  You could feel light headed, dizzy, or even faint under this condition.  Try to breathe in through your nose and out of your mouth.

You have started out on an exercise routine and you over exert yourself.  All exercise routines should be executed in a staged, progressive manner.  Plus, it helps you establish goals and helps you stick to your long range plan of overall health and fitness!


Ask yourself these questions…Are you setting unreasonable goals?  Do you put a lot of pressure on yourself to succeed immediately?  Are you nervous by nature?  Are you comparing yourself with others?  Are you breathing too fast, do you feel that you are in a flight or fight mode?  Are you over thinking your breathing and taking in too much oxygen?

Heart Issues

Have you been diagnosed with certain heart conditions or heart failure that might inhibit your breathing?  Are you on any medications that might causes a shortness of breath?

shortness of breath during exercise_2

Lung Issues

Have you been diagnosed with exercise induced bronchoconstriction (this is what has been classified/named as exercise induced asthma)?

The symptoms are shortness breath and/or wheezing, tightness in the chest, a decreased level of endurance, cough, sore throat and upset stomach.  They can occur within a few minutes of exercising and continue ten to fifteen minutes after exercising.  Anyone can experience these symptoms if you are out of shape, but they are more severe if you have EIB.

Systemic issues

Check your red blood cell count.  If it is low, you might be anemic. This could add your shortness of breath because your oxygen demands on the body are not met.  Also check for an increased metabolic state (high thyroid level), low blood pressure, fever, or sepsis (systemic infection).  These symptoms could lead to rapid shallow breathing.   You might need to check for kidney or chronic liver problems too!

What can you do?

As you move forward, if you smoke…Stop! Avoid exposure to toxic substances, allergens and dust.  If you are on heart medication take it regularly, reduce salt intake and weigh yourself regularly.

Now get back to the basics and retrain your mind to breathe correctly!  You should investigate deep breathing exercises.  They are a form of relaxation exercise where you are sitting still and learning how to breathe slowly through your stomach by activating your diaphragm.  You can also look into yoga and meditation which utilize deep breathing techniques and can help you retrain the way you breathe!

WatchFit Experts change lives!

And they can do the same for you.


Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
Lost 13 Kg in Total
Mel, 32y Location: London, United Kingdom Working with Pollyanna changed everything. I lost 13kg, got toned and have more energy than ever! Get same results!


Chriz Zaremba Fitness Consultant
Lost 45 Kg in Total
Chris, 50y Location: London, United Kingdom Lost 45kg after the age of 50 and now competes and wins physique competitions and runs marathons Check our weight loss plans