When pushing yourself during sport, do you tend to tire quickly and clock sub-par performances? If so, you need to improve your breathing! Endurance is key to maintaining your effort level over time. It will help you enjoy your sport more and make all your daily efforts easier. So what exactly do you need to do to improve? To start, you'll want to have a specific training programme that includes endurance work and sprints. But most of all, consistency is key. Here are five tips to help you quickly boost your cardio fitness.


Tip No. 1: Work out regularly and consistently

There's no secret when it comes to maintaining your progress and improving your endurance: it takes commitment! While you may see small improvements with just a weekly workout when starting out, it's not going to be enough to really progress - at the very best, you'll only be maintaining the effects of your training. To really take your fitness level up a notch, schedule at least three workouts every week.


Tip No. 2: Focus on endurance and sprint work

To improve your breathing, it's essential that you add an endurance workout to your training programme. This means training at a moderate pace (60-70% of your MHR*) to increase the number of blood vessels and boost your VO2 max.**

If you're just starting out, begin with a short workout (e.g., 20 minutes) at a low intensity and alternate running with active recovery (fast walking). Do this same workout for several weeks (at least 10 to 12) and try to reach 45 minutes for each workout. If you're working out at the gym, you can also do this on a cross trainer, spin bike or treadmill. These machines make it easy to control your speed. To improve your endurance, it's also important to have a heart rate monitor to make sure you stay in your effort zones. Also remember that rest and nutrition are key factors.


*Maximum heart rate corresponds to the maximum number of times your heart beats in one minute. Theoretically, it should be equal to 220 minus your age (226 for women, whose hearts beat slightly faster than men).


**Maximal oxygen uptake is the speed at which an athlete's body is consuming as much oxygen as possible.


Tip No. 3: Focus on your breathing

When doing sport, be sure to focus on your exhale and try to make it longer. You should slowly breathe out to release all the air from your lungs, which in turn will help you breathe in more air. To improve your breathing, you can also add yoga, tai chi and relaxation to your programme. These gentle activities boost both well-being and recovery, helping to improve your cardio fitness.


Tip No. 4: Think about meal timing and stay hydrated

Avoid doing sport when you're still digesting, which will definitely reduce your performance and could even lead to side stitches. Leave at least two to three hours after a meal before workout out. As far as hydration is concerned, remember that even slight dehydration can have negative impacts on your body, including on your breathing. Remember to hydrate before, during and after your workout.


Tip No. 5: Try altitude training

Altitude training is essential for anyone who wants to improve their endurance. Elite athletes use this method to prepare for meets and championships. Training this way improves oxygen levels in the blood, which optimises muscle performance. To increase the effects of this type of training, an average mountain (between 1000 m and 2000 m in altitude) is ideal. Remember that every body reacts differently to altitude and that this type of training is not effective for everyone. The only way to know if altitude training is right for you is to try it!