Breathe deep…nasal breathing benefits
I’ve received really good feedback from some of you incorporating box breathing during your day (read newsletter: My SEALFIT Basic Training experience). You have already noticed a difference in stress levels decreasing, thinking more clearly and just overall feeling better. Hooyah!
I thought today would be helpful to look at just some of the benefits of breathing through the nose or nasal breathing ( also known as Ayurvedic exercise) compared to breathing through the mouth. There are so many benefits to nasal breathing it’s ridiculous but here are just a handful. Note that you can nasal breath while at work and also while exercising. For the purposes of this newsletter we will focus on the nasal breathing while exercising.
Here we go.
Nasal breathing benefits as presented in John Douillard’s book, Mind, Body, and Sport):
Helps with digestion. Freeing the diaphragm to contract and relax fully massages the stomach situated just below the diaphragm, allowing for more efficient stomach function which can help in avoiding heartburn and hiatal hernia-like symptoms.
Helps with posture. Nose breathing and full rib cage activation is critical for optimal flexibility and elasticity of the spine, head, neck and low back.
Helps profuse more CO2. The lower lobes of the lungs are gravity fed, and thus have more blood. Therefore, they have the ability to perfuse more waste (CO2) out of the body. The reason we huff and puff during exercise is because we are not removing the CO2 as efficiently as we could be. Nose breathing maximizes this action.
Pulls lymphatic fluid from our lower body up toward the heart. Nose breathing and full rib cage activation acts as a pump to pull lymph fluid from the lower parts of the body up into the chest cavity and to the heart supporting healthy and active lymphatic flow.
Increases the production of nitric oxide. This helps with expanding blood vessels, increasing blood flow, and protecting the organs from damage.
Increases alpha brain wave activity compared to mouth breathing. Alpha brain waves are produced during relaxation or meditative states. Mouth breathing exercise produces a significant amount of beta brain waves that are associated with a stress response.
Used during recovery time; shorter recovery times and better endurance than mouth breathing exercise.
OK, that was a few more than a handful. During my workouts I incorporate nasal breathing and do notice a difference in how I feel; it helps me recover more quickly between sets. Overall, I just feel better when I breathe through my nose. By concentrating on breathing I’m “in the moment” focusing on the task at hand and not a to-do list. Meditators, does this sound familiar?
Nasal breathing can sometimes be challenging when I’m rowing or running as I’m needing much air. This does become easier with practice. If you have practiced nasal breathing for a while and still find it difficult; you may want to try Breathe Right nasal strips to help open up the nasal cavity.
Give this a whirl during your next training session and let me know how it is working for you.
Have a mouth breather in your life? Forward this on to them!
To your journey,