How to Control Your Breathing While Running Up Stairs

Running stairs can be made less difficult with the right breathing technique.
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Running out of breath is the quickest way to take the wind out of your exercise routine. That's because your brain, lungs and muscles all need oxygen as fuel so you can keep pushing through your workout. Having good stamina can give you more wind as your endurance improves. But there are also techniques that you can use to control your breathing, oxygenate your body, and help you get the most out of challenging exercises, like running stairs.

Breaths In and Out

    Step 1

    Focus on the way you take in and release air as you are running stairs. Breathe with a pattern alternating between the nose and mouth.

    Step 2

    Breathe in through your nose to filter the incoming air, which will protect your lungs from air that is too dry or cold.

    Step 3

    Breathe out through your mouth to release more carbon dioxide form your lungs in one breath.

Deep Breathing

    Step 1

    Practice taking in full breaths before you start running stairs to train your lungs to expand more. This will help because regular breathing is usually shallow and only uses a portion of your lung capacity.

    Step 2

    Breathe deeply as you inhale when running by allowing your lungs to fill up with oxygen. Breathe so that oxygen is able to get all the way down in your lungs; this will get easier as your lungs get used to expanding more and more.

    Step 3

    Focus on inhaling from your stomach rather than your throat. Allow your oxygen-filled lungs to press down on your diaphragm and expand your abdomen.

Breathing Rhythm

    Step 1

    Breathe with a rhythm that corresponds with your steps as you go up each stair.

    Step 2

    Breathe a 3:2 inhale-to-exhale rhythm as you hit each step "to fully oxygenate the muscles and clear the body of carbon dioxide," according to Inhale for three steps and exhale for two steps to keep this rhythm.

    Step 3

    Count out the rhythm as you conquer each step until you master it, you may need to change your speed to match the rhythm. Adjust the pace and number of steps per inhale and exhale once you are able to keep the rhythm if you want to run faster or slower.


    • Running stairs takes a lot of coordination and it may be difficult to focus on new breathing techniques during this exercise. Practicing controlled breathing while walking or running on flat terrain first, until you get the hang of it, can help prevent injuries.


    • Always consult with your doctor first to make sure you are healthy enough to run stairs. Discuss any injuries you have with your doctor to verify that running stairs will not cause further injury. Wear appropriate workout clothing and supportive running shoes to help avoid injury.

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