Endurance Sports and Nasal Breathing: Can Improved Nasal Breathing Help with Performance in Sports?

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Visualize yourself engaging in physical activity, whether it be jogging, hiking, dancing, or lifting weights. Try to imagine exerting the utmost effort. You may want to check whether your mouth or nose is being used for breathing now.

The majority of people who exercise do it by breathing through their mouths, and this is especially true as the intensity of the workout increases. Yet, it is becoming increasingly clear that mouth breathing is not as healthy or beneficial as nasal breathing.

Why is Nose Breathing Optimal for Sports Performance?

The nose was designed to aid in breathing (the primary purpose of the mouth, on the other hand, is to start the digestive process). The nose, nasal hair, and nasal passages all work together to help keep allergies and other particles from making it into the lungs. Air is warmed and humidified in the nose before it is drawn into the lungs.

More oxygen may be delivered to active tissues when you breathe through your nose instead of your mouth, making nasal breathing a key factor in efficient and effective exercise. That’s because nitric oxide, produced when you breathe in via your nose, is what raises CO2 levels in your blood, which in turn causes your lungs to exhale oxygen. Compared to nasal breathing, mouth breathing does not adequately release nitric oxide, which indicates that the cells are not receiving as much oxygen.

This was proven by a recent scientific investigation. Ten runners, five men and five women, were included in the study; all of them had been instructed to breathe solely through their nostrils for the preceding six months. Maximum oxygen intake rates were compared between those who breathed through their noses and those who breathed through their mouths throughout standardized testing. In addition to measuring their oxygen and carbon dioxide levels during exercise, we measured a number of additional respiratory and activity markers.

The subjects’ maximum oxygen consumption was not affected by whether they breathed through the nose or the mouth. Yet, when the runners were instructed to switch to nasal breathing, the runners’ respiratory rates, breaths per minute, and oxygen intake/exhaust rational improved. This, according to the study’s authors, is likely due to the fact that nasal breathing involves a slower breathing rate, allowing more time for oxygen to enter the bloodstream.

Hyperventilation through the mouth, or the short, shallow breaths that so many of us take when exercising vigorously or under stress, increases the body’s discharge of carbon dioxide and decreases the efficiency with which oxygen is delivered to our cells. To get the most oxygen into our blood during stressful situations, nasal breathing is the best option.

In addition, when you breathe through your nose, you stimulate the part of your neurological system that aids in regeneration and digestion rather than the part that triggers your body’s “fight or flight” response. As a result, nasal breathing can help us feel more at ease and perform better even while our bodies are in the stressed condition of high-intensity exercise.

How can we increase our nose breathing if we know it keeps us calm and boosts our performance in sports?

First, listen up. Throughout the day, do you prefer to breathe via your nose or mouth? Is there anything you should do while working out, especially as the intensity rises? Consider how your focus on your breathing changes the breath and how you feel.

Time to start inhaling through your nose. Just shut your mouth and loosen your jaw and tongue. As a first step, try breathing through your nose while you stretch and cool down. Then, try going about your day with only using your nose to breathe. The practice of “mouth taping,” in which specially prepared tape is placed over the lips to facilitate nasal breathing, is used by some people who habitually mouth breathe when sleeping.

After you’ve settled into a routine and are breathing normally through your nose, you should double-check for any discrepancies.

If you feel that these simple steps are not adequate. It’s a great idea to see an expert in nasal disorders. We at Del Rey MD have treated many athletes including professionals across multiple sports in our Los Angeles based offices. After a thorough evaluation including an in-office Ct Scan, we can quickly determine if your nasal anatomy is blocking your ability to enjoy the many benefits of nasal breathing. Our solutions which may include sinus dilation, septoplasty, turbinate reduction, clarifix, vivaer, rhinaer procedures or a combination of the above can usually be done in the office, in less than an hour, and with minimal downtime or pain.

Feel free to contact us at one of our sites servicing Los Angeles, Southern California, and Central California. Breathe better today!

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