I want to address something we do naturally everyday that usually requires very little thought, yet it’s something we could do more effectively…Breathing. I said “usually requires very little thought” because as soon as we start to over exert ourselves through exercise it quickly becomes the main thing we are thinking about and we’re usually thinking “what’s the quickest way to consume as much oxygen as I possibly can?” An obvious answer may be to breathe in through your mouth as quickly as possible because your mouth has a larger opening than your nose. While breathing through your mouth is okay (although some would argue you should never breathe through your mouth), breathing though your nose is the most effective way to to recover and feed your muscles the oxygenated blood they need to continue performing.
Dr. Park, who is an ENT specialist from New York explains the importance of breathing through your nose. “One of the most important reasons to breathe through your nose is because of a gas called nitric oxide that’s made by your nose and sinus mucous membranes. This gas is produced in small amounts, but when inhaled into the lungs, significantly enhances your lung’s capacity to absorb oxygen. Nitric oxide is lethal to bacteria and viruses and is also known to increase oxygen absorption in your lungs from 10-25 percent. This is why it’s important to inhale through your nose, especially when you are exercising”.
I can tell you first hand it is the most effective way to recover from any kind of anaerobic exercise such as strength training, plyometrics and especially sprint intervals! When I focus on breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth after a sprint, I recover much faster than if I am gasping for air through my mouth.
When it comes to running longer distances or doing any kind of aerobic activity, breathing through the nose and the mouth will be effective HOWEVER it is still important to focus on breathing in through your nose. Nitric Oxide is not produced when you breathe in through your mouth. This amazing gas is critical to all the organs in the body so be sure not to deprive yourself of it 🙂
Whether you are feeling sluggish, having a hard time sleeping at night or just STRESSED OUT, ALTERNATE nostril breathing can make a HUGE difference. Most of the time we’re not breathing evenly through both nostrils, which means one side of the brain may be lacking in oxygen. For example, our brain is split into two hemisphere’s and simply put, we have a “thinking” side and a “feelings” side. If your having a hard time focusing, it may be because your “thinking” side isn’t receiving as much oxygen as it needs and alternate nostril breathing can help clear the fog. Below is an article written by Carole Fogarty and I would highly recommend reading through the 12 benefits of alternate nostril breathing. She also explains how to do this simple technique at the end of the article so you can try it for yourself 🙂
Email me with any questions and have a fantastic afternoon!
Yours in Health and Wellness,