How to Not Run out of Breath When Reading Aloud
It’s a common misconception that you should read aloud as quickly as possible. This is not true, and it may lead to the reader running out of breath while reading. The key is to pace yourself and take breaks when needed in order to avoid this problem.
Breathe in through your nose and exhale as you read to not run out of breath. Breaths should be taken at the end of sentences, at commas, and before main points. You can also strengthen your diaphragm muscle using a breathing trainer.
This may seem like a simplified solution, but there’s much more to know especially if your breathing difficulties stem from social anxiety. Keep reading for more ideas on how to not run out of breath when you are reading out loud.
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How to Breathe While Reading Aloud
According to breathing coach Dennis Huizenga of Pro Breathing, it’s important to balance your breathing while reading aloud.
Most people get out of breath because they try to quickly breathe in and out at the end of sentences and hold their breath as they read.
In order to break this habit, Dennis suggests practicing reading aloud to yourself for 5 to 10 minutes per day.
As you read aloud, practice breathing in through your nose at the end of sentences, at natural breaks like commas, and before important words. When you read, you should be exhaling.
Instead of trying to rush through as you read, make sure to pause and take breaks. While it might feel awkward at first, it’s actually more comfortable for the listener if you do this.
Why Do I Run Out of Breath While Talking?
There are multiple potential reasons why you run out of breath while talking. Physical therapists Bob Schrupp and Brad Heineck note that the following conditions can contribute to breathing problems in general:
- heart failure
- sleep apnea
In addition, anxiety, and in particular social anxiety, can be a cause of shortness of breath while reading aloud.
If you happen to have a physical condition such as asthma that makes breathing harder, this can also contribute to becoming even more anxious.
If you aren’t sure whether your breathing is a problem in and of itself, you can take a breathing test at the Pro Breathing website.
If your breathing is a problem in general, or if you simply want to improve your breathing capacity, you can actually train your diaphragm muscle (just like any other muscle in your body).
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One way to do this is using a breathing trainer called “The Breather.“ (click the link to read reviews on Amazon)
Just as you would when using resistance weights, The Breather allows you to set the amount of tension so that you can gradually improve your breathing capacity.
The Breather was developed by a respiratory therapist and is designed to be used for 10 reps twice per day. If your anxiety makes your breathing shallow, training your diaphragm is something practical that you can do!
How Can I Control My Breath While Talking?
If you are talking rather than reading aloud, the same breathing technique can be used.
Take a slow, deep breath before speaking; then engage your abdominal muscles as you begin to speak. Speak in phrases of 5 or 6 words at a time, pausing after each phrase. Remember that taking deep breaths is necessary too.
When you inhale, try to fill as much breath into your lungs as possible. This means that your diaphragm (the muscle just below the ribcage) should push out on the abdominal cavity, making a round shape at the waist.
Letting air escape through the mouth as you talk helps keep a flow of fresh air coming in continuously through the nose.
Breathing deeply while talking also builds up more oxygen in your body and vitality in your conversation. Slowing down also helps you think about what you want to say before you say it.
Talking slower also diminishes anxiety and gives people time to listen better – which is always appreciated!
Potential Breathing Problems While Reading
To take a deep breath, the body needs to relax the chest muscles. Often chest muscles are tight from stress and this interferes with breathing by making it more difficult for them to release.
Something as simple as taking time throughout the day to stretch these muscles can help you breathe better while talking. This will also increase oxygen levels in your bloodstream which is good for your brain!
There’s no need to do strenuous exercises or get so much of an intense stretch that you’re sore afterwards – one minute per hour will be sufficient.
How Not to Get Nervous While Reading Aloud
It doesn’t seem fair, that the more we try not to be nervous, the more nerve-wracked we become. T
he problem is that most of us have entrenched habits and worry patterns in our minds, which are triggered by things like being around other people or standing on a stage with lights bearing down on us.
When these triggers happen, our brains reflexively produce adrenalin which makes our hearts beat faster and increases stress hormones flowing round the body – all warning signs for panic!
When you are nervous, deep breathing can help: take a slow deep breath in and hold it for just a second, then release the air slowly through your mouth. Try this three or four times in quick succession, and your body should have recovered from the initial ‘jolt’.
The same technique can be applied when you start reading – as each phrase approaches your lips, inhale deeply (and silently), then exhale out that charged energy as you speak the words.
Do you have trouble with running out of breath when you are reading aloud? Feel free to share your story or ask questions in the comments.
Related Posts about Doing Things in Public
- 17 Things People Don’t Realize You Do Because of Social Anxiety
- Where to Find Public Speaking Classes
- How to Stop a Panic Attack in Public