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Is it OK to hold my breath while working out?

Holding your breath, also known as a valsalva maneuver, could be potentially dangerous if performed in wrong situations. A valsalva maneuver is defined as the forceful exhalation (expiration) against a closed airway such as coughing, sneezing, straining during a bowel movement, or weight lifting. The contraction of the abdominal and thoracic muscles during the valsalva maneuver increase the pressure within your chest, raising the blood pressure, and dangerously impeding blood from returning to the heart. If performed regularly it may cause damage to the blood vessels, heart, and even the brain (possible stroke risk). To avoid performing this maneuver, be sure to breathe out with forceful exertion of any activity.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.