well yes, of course it is that important—duh—but in the same “breath” i know many of us don’t breathe at times when we need that oxygen to move a muscle, much less to live.  we don’t even realize the damage going on due to holding our breath.  you might be thinking i’m talking about sleep apnea.  sleep apnea is a concern and appropriate exercise is associated with good sleep but i’m blogging to help you realize you might be holding your breath simply while exercising—many people do, especially when straining.  we just automatically hold our breath.  instead we need to breathe.  basically we breathe in oxygen and our blood carries it to our muscles which aids in causing the muscles to move.  without oxygen(anaerobic) our muscles quickly fatigue and won’t move without undue stress—think sprints, shortness of breath.  with oxygen(aerobic) our muscles are fed and endure much longer–think 5K, long-continuous movement, able to breathe and even talk.  but, even during a weighted exercise we need to breathe.  when performing a weighted exercise exhaling during the contraction is recommended.  breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. i think i say that one zillion times throughout most training days.  exercise improves our lung capacity, strengthens the heart, expands capillaries and blood flow, cleans out toxins so many things towards healthy, continuous breathing.  practice breathing during warm-up phase, while exercising and when cooling down and stretching.  with practice, just like anything else,  breathing without thinking about it during exercise can become the norm for you and you won’t forget to breathe.  it really is that important!