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Nasal Breathing; Why? - Friday 01/05/2020

Breathing is one of the most crucial functions of the human body. Every breath we take can be either positive or negative, depending on how you take it of course. During normal breathing it seems effortless, silent, regular and through the nose. However, chronic mouth breathers tend to have a faster, uncontrollable expansion of the chest which is likely to activate the sympathetic nervous system. In a life full of stress, do you really want to stress yourself out more through breathing?


Nasal Breathing


First and foremost the research and benefits to nasal breathing are endless. To list off a few they include improved cognition, improved sleep, increased oxygen efficiency/absorption, reduction in stress/hypertension, increase in energy.

Nitric oxide (NO) is found in the human breath and plays vital roles in processes such as platelet function, regulation of blood flow, neurotransmission and immunity; let’s keep Corona at bay! Most NO derives from the nose where it can reach high levels during breath holding. Although this gas is produced in tiny amounts, when it is inhaled through the nose into the lungs, it will follow the airstream to the lower airways and the lungs where it supports in increasing arterial oxygen tension; hence enhancing the lungs capacity to absorb oxygen. No brainer right?


Mouth Breathing


The negative effects of chronic mouth breathing have been shown to include decreased levels of production, sleep disorders and general fatigue. Mouth breathers tend to characterise a forward head posture, this posture can cause them to experience drawbacks such as headaches, muscle fatigue, neck tension, early arthritis and dental occlusal problems.

A study conducted by Okuro et al, demonstrated how the respiratory biomechanics and exercise capacity were negatively affected by mouth breathing; and that the presence of moderate forward head posture acted as a compensatory mechanism in order to improve respiratory muscle function.


Exercise


If the general benefits of nasal breathing haven’t swayed you let’s peak your interest with the exercise benefits. Nasal breathing as stated will pick up more nitric oxide when delivered to the lungs and therefore a higher amount of oxygen delivery to the muscles. In turn, causing a larger exercise working capacity; you guys want to improve your fitness right? In terms of recovery it can be massive too! A study on 16 athletes (which you will become) after an intense exercise bout were recorded breathing diaphragmatically (nasal breathing) or mouth breathing (chest breathing) in a relaxed manner for 60 minutes post exercise.

Results from the study showed that diaphragmatic breathing resulted in an increased antioxidant defense, whilst also correlating to a decrease in cortisol and an increase in melatonin. Therefore stating that recovery is better when controlled through nasal diaphragmatic breathing.


TLDR (Too Long Didn’t Read)


Nasal breathing benefits compared to being a chronic mouth breather;


  1. Increased Oxygen Transport/Efficiency

  2. Improved Posture

  3. Better Recovery

  4. Increased Cognitive Performance

  5. Better Energy Levels

  6. Reduced Stress

Keep breathing,


Guy

References:


Okuro RT, Morcillo AM, Ribeiro MÂ, Sakano E, Conti PB, Ribeiro JD. Mouth breathing and forward head posture: effects on respiratory biomechanics and exercise capacity in children. J Bras Pneumol.2011 Jul-Aug; 37(4):471-9.


Martarelli, D., Cocchioni, M., Scuri, S. and Pompei, P., 2011. Diaphragmatic breathing reduces exercise-induced oxidative stress. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2011.




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