Hey Angels and Alphas,
Breathing is something we usually take for granted, partly because we don’t notice it’s happening at all. Unless, of course, you are huffing and puffing after five flights of stairs, or you’re just finishing a sprint on the treadmill. Then, all of a sudden, that flow of air in and out of your body becomes the only thing you can care about.
In those all-out efforts and those less intense moments during exercise, how you breathe matters – particularly whether it’s through your nose or your mouth.
Breathing correctly will support your performance and your all-around well-being while breathing poorly will end up holding you back.
Down below, experts break down why you should be paying attention to whether you breathe through your mouth or your nose… and how you should be optimizing your flow.
MOUTH BREATHING VS. NOSE BREATHING DURING TRAINING
Many of us work out without thinking much about whether we’re breathing through our mouth or nose… but there are significant differences between the two.
Through your mouth, you can expect to intake a greater volume of air at a time in which breathing through your nose would be more efficient.
Here’s why this happens: when you breathe through your nose, you will end up taking in less oxygen. Since this inhalation process is slower through your nose, this gives your body more time to process that oxygen. Basically, the little oxygen you take in gets utilized more efficiently.
On the other hand, the slower process of breathing through your nose allows carbon dioxide to build up in the body, which means it can be turned into more oxygen.
Although mouth breathing brings in more total air into your body, the lack of resistance and quicker pace it has leaves the body with less opportunity to utilize the oxygen you inhale.
Here’s another advantage of nose breathing: it’s a defense against pathogens. Our noses are designed specifically to support the respiratory system.
HERE’S WHY YOU SHOULD BREATHE THROUGH YOUR NOSE DURING YOUR WORKOUTS
Since nose breathing allows the body to utilize more of the oxygen it consumes, it instantly reduces the levels of stress in your body during your training. The more easily the body can use oxygen, the better you’re going to perform in whatever workout you’re doing.
Not to mention, one study done back in 2018, published in the International Journal of Kinesiology and Sports Science, discovered that runners who focused on nose breathing during training maintained the same level of performance while breathing in less air.
And since your body utilizes more oxygen during the process of turning fat into energy, such as during a jog, the more efficiently you can get oxygen into your cells, the better it is for your potential fat loss efforts.
When training becomes too stressful or intense, nose breathing will provide you with the relief your body requires. Proper nose breathing instantly reduces stress and hypertension, ultimately helping us stop ourselves from overexerting energy.
For those reasons, experts suggest that you should be breathing through your nose during your workouts.
(If this is a concept that sounds totally new to you, I suggest you focus first on nose breathing through your warmups first. Then, as you get used to it, try to translate that into other parts of your workouts such as your reps, your rest periods, and your post-workout cooldown.)
HERE’S WHEN MOUTH BREATHING CAN COME IN HANDY
During highly intense parts of your workout, such as treadmill sprints, it’s expected that you can breathe through your mouth. At times, exercise intensity gets so high that nasal breathing just isn’t feasible. You need to get as much air as you possibly can in a short amount of time – and that’s when mouth breathing can come into play.
For only for a short amount of time – a few seconds of mouth breathing can get you through the final pushes of your workout… but as soon as you can, you should switch back to nasal breathing. Focus on taking those slow, deep belly breaths through your nose that will calm your body and help you shift into a more efficient pattern of breathing.
HERE’S HOW TO BREATHE OUTSIDE THE GYM
Nose breathing won’t just help you in the gym – it will help you support your health and fitness by utilizing oxygen more efficiently 24/7.
Though mouth breathing is nothing more than a subconscious habit, doing it at night can really help you spot obstructive sleep apnea, a condition where breathing is repeatedly interrupted during your sleep.
Putting sleep aside, breathing efficiently through your nose will support your health and well-being by helping you ease stress, relieve anxiety, boost your mood, and even let go of pain. As soon as you have this nose breathing thing down to the core, you can move on to some more specific breathwork practices in which you can learn how to release anger or give your body amazing boosts of energy. More on that in another post.