We’re all looking for ways to optimize our lives. If there’s a quick tip or a hack that makes something easier, we jump at the chance to try it out. What if there was a way to “hack” running for better performance? Surprisingly, there is!
It all goes back to breath. Do you mindlessly breathe through the mouth while running? Many people are surprised to learn that this is actually hindering your performance.
Whether you’re an experienced runner or you’re just getting started, nose breathing can help you get the most out of your run.
How Nose Breathing Boosts Performance in Running
We all run for different reasons. Maybe you’re looking to get fit or stay in shape, relieve stress and anxiety, or you run competitively. No matter the reason, nasal breathing can help you run faster, for longer.
Benefits of Nose Breathing During Running
Regulate Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide Levels to Run Faster, For Longer
Did you know that breathing through the nose rather than the mouth helps you regulate the oxygen in your body? A recent study found that nasal breathing can help improve muscle oxygenation by optimizing CO2 levels.
The study tested ten different runners, both men and women, over the course of six months. Participants used only nasal breathing during exercise throughout the study. Their oxygen and carbon dioxide levels were tested during both nasal breathing and mouth breathing.
When comparing the numbers, researchers found that runners’ respiratory rate, breaths per minute, and oxygen to carbon dioxide output all decreased when they breathed through the nose instead of the mouth.
Researchers speculate that this is due to the lower breath rate that nasal breathing causes, which allows more time for oxygen to make its way to the bloodstream. The technical term for this biological process is known as the Bohr Effect.
The slower rate of breathing that results from nose breathing allows CO2 levels to rise to optimal levels inside the body. The Bohr Effect shows that since CO2 is necessary for oxygenation, this improves the efficiency of oxygen transfer from red blood cells to those hard-working muscles. As a result, less blood is needed to oxygenate the body while nose breathing and running. In turn, your blood pressure and heart rate decrease, allowing you to reach a higher level of endurance with less effort.
Nitric Oxide Helps Take the Body Out of Fight or Flight Mode
Since your heart rate and blood pressure are lowered, your run will feel like more of a stress reliever than ever before. Nitric oxide, a vasodilator, plays a huge role in this process.
Nitric oxide produced by the nose during nasal breathing puts the body into a parasympathetic state rather than a sympathetic one. Put simply, your body will go into “rest and digest” mode and exit “fight or flight” mode.
Even though running requires endurance and is a high-intensity exercise, your body and mind will remain calm. The best part? The effects last well after your run ends.
Benefits of Nose Breathing During Rest
Faster Recovery Times
Since nasal breathing is the more efficient method of breathing, your recovery time afterward will be shorter and easier than ever before.
The “rest and digest” mode that your body enters while nasal breathing, coupled with the nitric oxide, allows your body to function like the well-oiled machine it is designed to be. That means that you’ll exert less energy to run faster, harder, and longer.
Since less energy is needed to do more work, your body won’t have to fight as hard to recover from exerting itself.
Boost Your Immune System
Aside from boosted recovery times, nasal breathing during rest can help you defend your immune system against airborne pathogens. Your mouth offers no filtration against germs and bacteria, while the nose does. This means a decreased risk of allergies or colds.
The nasal cavity also adds moisture to the breath, making it easier on the lungs to take in and deliver air to the body.
Try This Nose Breathing Exercise During Your Run
Incorporating nasal breathing into your run may feel a bit foreign at first, but breathing exercises are a mindful way to incorporate the superior method of breathing into your workout (and your everyday life).
Practice nose breathing during walking before you try it while running. Breathe in for four steps and out for four steps, inhaling from the diaphragm and breathing in and out of the nose.
Once you get used to this breathing pattern, try nose breathing while running. Do it for a few minutes at a time until you can nasal breathe for your entire run. The 4:4 pattern can be adjusted so that it’s a comfortable level for you.
If you’re running for a longer period of time or at a relaxed pace, it might feel more comfortable to inhale for longer and exhale for longer. Work on building up to slower and slower rates of breathing, without pushing it too far of course. Just like your run itself, find the pace of breath that best suits you and your body.
Once you get used to nasal breathing during your run (and while sleeping), add a tool like SomniFix so that you’ll nasal breathe without even giving it a second thought.
Level Up Your Running Performance with SomniFix
Given all the benefits of nose breathing, why not make it a habit to nose breathe both during your run and while sleeping at night.
If your mind drifts from your breathing, SomniFix Strips can help you nasal breathe during your run without any added hassle or worry. That way you can focus on what really matters: your run.
Just pop on a strip before you begin your run to go faster, for longer thanks to the power of nasal breathing.
After your workout, you can even use the strips to continue nasal breathing during sleep. This will help you continue to improve oxygenation, performance, recovery, and CO2 tolerance even while at rest.
You’ll get your best sleep yet so that you’ll perform at your absolute best on your next run.
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