Why Nasal Breathing Coach?
I often have our athletes breathe only through their nose during the warm-up portion of our sessions. Recently one of my athletes asked me what the benefits of this practice were which is why I am writing this blog post! Many of us breathe through our mouths when we get tired because if is a lot easier and it feels like you can get more oxygen by breathing through your mouth instead of just your nose! So why do it? Well in case you were wondering here are the main reasons why we practice nasal breathing:
Nasal breathing leads to increased performance and overall health by:
Optimizes your breathing position. Breathing through our nose is the only way to fully use our main breathing muscles, which should be our diaphragm and lower lungs. Breathing through our mouth uses our neck, traps and upper lungs which will lead to poor posture and fatigue much faster, especially if we are under a load (e.g., weighted squat, thrusters, back pack etc.) than breathing using our diaphragm and lower lungs. In other words we can do more work for longer periods with less fatigue by breathing using our diaphragm and lower lungs which will in turn translate to more optimal fitness and health.
Increase in Fitness and Performance When we breath through our mouths we offload more CO2 because our mouths are bigger than our nostrils. Ideally we want to maximize the use of oxygen in our muscles to optimize our performance. Oxygen is more efficiently delivered in the presence of CO2. Therefore if we are continuously expending less CO2 by breathing only through our nose we are training our brain to get used to this excess CO2 which therefore allows our muscles to use it to more efficiently use the oxygen we are giving it to do more work!
It Teaches Us to Stay In Control! How we breath correlates to nervous system responses in our body. Breathing through our nose takes us to a parasympathetic nervous system response in our body which is typically associated with being more at rest and under less stress. Breathing through our mouth is associated with a sympathetic nervous system response also known as fight or flight. We tend to start to breath through our mouth when we are under more stress, for example in a tough workout or a life threatening situation. If we breath through our mouth even in a light workout or warm up our body doesn't know the difference between parasympathetic and sympathetic so it assumes we are in fight or flight even when we are not, which is not optimal for our fitness and in turn our health.
I hope this clarifies why it is important to breath through our noses as much as possible. For another great explanation of this subject please watch this great Invictus video on this subject below!
Dedicated to your success!