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  • Writer's pictureLisa Magnuson

What's with all the nose breathing?

Yes, we are asking you to breathe solely through your nose while you work out this week. Here is the method behind the madness.

Nasal breathing has been and is continuing to be studied as an alternative way to create an adaptive response during training sessions. Without getting too "sciency" on you all the basic premise is that by breathing through your nose you can actually utilize the oxygen you’re taking in better than if you are breathing through your mouth. When we are huffing and puffing through our mouth, we are off gassing a lot of CO2 as well as our oxygen because our respiratory rate is elevated.

Additionally, you are using many auxiliary muscles when you mouth breath, alternatively nasal breathing is a slower and more relaxed way to move air. Using more muscles requires more O2 so you can see the tail chasing that can go on in that scenario.

Nasal breathing helps to restore your nervous system to parasympathetic tone (rest and digest) that is useful for stress reduction and recovery. Mouth breathing swings our nervous system into sympathetic tone that elevates all sort of stress responses in the body. There are enough outside stressors in our worlds to keep us in sympathetic tone all day (which is extremely unhealthy) so why don't we use our breath as a way to chill out? Sounds like a perfect thing to practice to me.

So, this week try nasal breathing when you are doing low threshold work- like walking, or warmups and cool downs, or other forms of steady state low intensity workouts. Continue with this for a week and see how you feel throughout your day after you have practiced this. Its calming effect is really addictive so I think you will enjoy the results of this experiment.

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