Always Breathe Through Your Nose
The most basic of all breathing techniques is to make sure you always breathing through your nose. Mouth breathing tends to promote hyperventilation, which actually decreases tissue oxygenation. Mouth breathing also results in diminished levels of CO2 in the body and a decreased ability to filter toxic pollutants from the air.
The human body needs a balance of Oxygen and CO2 for optimal function. CO2 is not just a waste product but has actual biological roles, 1 of which is assisting in Oxygen utilization. When the CO2 level is too low, changes in the blood pH impair the hemoglobin’s ability to release Oxygen to our cells.
Mouth breathing can also elevate your heart rate and blood pressure, sometimes resulting in fatigue and dizziness. The elasticity of your lungs also depends on nasal resistance, which you only get from nasal breathing due to the smaller diameter of your nasal passages.
So, breathing through the nose helps maintain our health in a number of important ways. And, exercise only to the extent that you can continue breathing through your nose the vast majority of the time. No huffing and puffing!
If this means backing off on intensity, then that’s what you need to do, realizing that it’s only temporary until your body begins to adjust to your slightly increased CO2 levels, which will happen fairly quickly.
So, get used to “air hunger“and realize it’s normal and safe.
The rule of thumb is to not push yourself to the point where you are unable to maintain nasal breathing. If you feel the need to open your mouth, then slow down and recover. This helps the body to gradually develop a tolerance for increased CO2.
Breathe less, as most people chronically over breathe, meaning they breathe more than is needed, which depletes their CO2 reserves. Typical characteristics of over breathing include mouth breathing, upper chest breathing, sighing, noticeable breathing during rest, and taking large breaths prior to talking.
Clinical trials involving asthmatics show they breathe between 10 to 15 liters of air per min and people with chronic heart disease tend to breathe between 15 to 18 liters of air per min.
On the other hand, normal breathing volume is between 4 and 7 liters of air per min, which translates into 12 to 14 breaths.
This suggests breathing less is a sign of better health.
So, the more we breathe, the more likely we are to experience significant health problems. Plus, if you are breathing through your mouth during the day, odds are you are also doing so at night, which can lead to health problems such as dehydration, snoring and sleep apnea.
Mouth breathing is associated with several other health problems, including, the following:
- Bronchial asthma and exercise-induced asthma — In 1 study, young asthma patients had virtually no exercise-induced asthma after exercising while breathing through their noses. However, they did experience moderate bronchial constriction after exercising while mouth breathing.
- Abnormal facial development — Children who breathe through their mouths tend to develop longer faces with altered jaw structures.
- Poor oral hygiene — Loss of moisture dries out your saliva and contributes to poor oral hygiene; dehydration causes your airways to constrict and makes nose breathing even more difficult, creating a vicious cycle.
- Reduced Oxygen delivery to the heart, brain and other tissues due to constricted arterial blood flow.
- Crooked teeth, poor concentration, allergies, poor sports performance and ADHD have also been linked with mouth breathing.
The way to minimize these problems is to breathe more lightly, and this happens automatically when you shift from breathing through your mouth to your nose.
Remember, the deeper and more quickly you breathe, the more constricted your blood vessels will be and the less Oxygen will be delivered to the body’s tissues.
Breathing through the nose, on the other hand, slows down and regularizes your breathing, thereby improving Oxygenation. Nasal breathing also has a calming effect because it activates your parasympathetic nervous system. And that is Healthy!
Eat healthy, Be Healthy, Live lively
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