Updated: Sep 20
If you’re sitting there wondering: “who cares whether I breathe through my nose or mouth. The air ends up in the same place, right?” That’s exactly what I used to think, too. With all of the things that we think about on a daily basis, why add how we breathe to the list? Well, I’m going to share with you some information that could impact your life significantly. By the time you’re done reading this blog I hope that many of you have made the decision to permanently switch to nasal breathing. So, let’s get started…
Your nose is not just a pretty appendage on your face. If it wasn’t useful, in a biological sense, then evolution would have gotten rid of it a long time ago. The nose actually performs a number of important processes to the air you breathe. First of all, the very structure of the nasal cavity is comprised of a series of spongy bones called turbinates. The bumps and ridges of the turbinates act to direct the flow of air through the nasal cavity, allowing time to properly humidify and warm the air before it reaches your lungs. The air is also filtered as it passes through, trapping certain pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and fungi that cause disease. Another important fact is the nasal cavity is a reservoir for nitric oxide. When you breathe through the nose, nitric oxide is transported along to the lungs where it acts to open (dilate) the airways and blood vessels. You will breathe easier and ideally have a reduction in blood pressure.
When you mouth-breathe you are bypassing all of the above-mentioned benefits. In addition, when mouth-breathing, you generally take in a much larger volume of air than you really need. This contributes to a state of hyperventilation that changes the carbon dioxide balance in the body and reduces your ability to endure higher levels of exercise without significant fatigue. Mouth-breathing causes a much greater loss of moisture from the body and has a drying effect in the mouth that contributes to a variety of dental problems.
In summary, breathing should always be done in and out through the nose. Breathing should be light and relaxed. You should never have to “huff and puff”, even during strenuous exercise. As you practice nasal breathing during exercise you will develop better breath control and build up more physical endurance. Give it a shot. Take some time out of your day to focus on just breathing. It might change your life!
Be safe and stay well,