Proper breathing during a run can make all the difference in how you feel as you run. You may have heard that pacing your breath with your steps can help, or maybe you’ve heard it’s best to inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth.
Surprisingly, using your mouth to breathe as you run causes more harm than good. Nasal breathing, however, boosts both your health and athletic performance.
That’s why we’re sharing the top three benefits of nose breathing while running. Let’s first discuss all of the issues associated with mouth breathing, then we’ll explain why nasal breathing is so beneficial.
The Big Issue With Mouth Breathing
You may be interested to learn that mouth breathing is actuallyover-breathing. Not to mention, it’s associated with a myriad of health risks such as high blood pressure, gum disease, tooth decay, snoring, and sleep apnea.
Mouth breathing decreases blood circulation, causing the airway to constrict.
As a result, you’ll over-breathe to compensate. On top of that, the mouth is so large that the volume of air you take in is much too substantial.
Since you’re over-breathing, the body has to work overtime. That means increased stress, decreased cognitive function, and poor recovery time (especially during a workout).
As we know, breathlessness makes it harder to complete any sort of physical activity, including running. You may think that your physical fitness controls your physical ability. However, it’s actually the fitness of your lungs that determines your aerobic ability.
The nose, on the other hand, allows for a slow, steady stream of breath that oxygenates the body appropriately. And the benefits of nose breathing while running don’t stop there!
Nasal breathing produces nitric oxide, a vasodilator that activates the parasympathetic nervous system, takes the body out of fight or flight, and helps you run faster, for longer.
Research shows this in action. It has been proven that nasal breathing during exercise causes a decrease in hyperventilation rates.
This phenomenon is known as “The Bohr Effect.”
1. Boost Oxygenation With The Bohr Effect
When you run, your body is working extra hard to operate at peak capacity. A buildup of carbon dioxide (CO2) occurs, leading to elevated levels across the board. This may lead to rapid breathing if your lungs aren’t used to it.
However, if you increase your tolerance for CO2 with the steady breathing rate that the nose provides, your hunger for air decreases as endurance rises.
It sounds like an oxymoron that more carbon dioxide helps you breathebetter, but that’s exactly how the Bohr effectworks. The science behind this phenomenon helps explain one of the biggest benefits of nose breathing while running: increased oxygenation.
Hemoglobin, a protein in the blood, is responsible for carrying oxygen from the lungs to the cells and major organs. Carbon dioxide helps hemoglobin in the blood to offload oxygen to areas in the body that need it most.
If you can tolerate a buildup of CO2, the body can oxygenate the cells more efficiently. When the cells get efficient levels of oxygen, your heart rate remains steady even if you’re moving faster.
As lung elasticity improves with nasal breathing over mouth breathing, you’ll be able to take in, hold, and deliver ample amounts of oxygen just by using the nose.
When you run, you’ll be able to oxygenate even though you’re pushing it hard and moving fast. This helps runners gain an edge against competitors and improve running times.
Aside from more efficient oxygen delivery, another benefit of nose breathing while running is that the nose acts as nature’s air conditioner.
2. Run in Any Weather
The mouth is for eating and the nose is for smelling and breathing.
In fact, the nose has tons of “advanced” features that the mouth doesn’t. Think of the mouth like a base model car -- while the nose is fully-loaded.
The nose warms or cools the air we breathe, making it the perfect temperature to deliver to the lungs. Whether you’re running in extreme cold or extreme heat, your nose helps to correct the temperature and make it easier for the lungs to absorb.
Nasal breathing also humidifies the air, taking harsh and dry air and turning it into moist breath that the lungs and airway can handle with ease.
Moreover, the nose features small hairs called cilia that act as a built-in air filter. Cilia block pollutants, germs, pathogens, dust, free radicals, and more from entering the airway and our bodies.
This helps prevent allergies, illness, and fatigue as you run.
Beyond built-in temperature control and filtering features, yet another benefit of nose breathing while running is improved endurance and recovery time.
3. Improved Endurance and Recovery Time
When you first try to switch from mouth breathing to nasal breathing, you may have a hard time maintaining it. With practice, you’ll be able to increase the amount of time you nasal breathe while you run.
Many of us hyperventilate when we exercise due to mouth breathing. Nasal breathing can be hard to get used to since a smaller stream of air enters the airway compared to the mouth.
Once you’re used to nasal breathing, your performance and endurance will greatly improve. This is because the nose allows for the appropriate amount of oxygen and nitric oxide to circulate throughout the body.
You’ll also recover faster than ever before, which means decreased soreness after a run.
When you breathe slowly, your heart syncs up to your breath with each stride. This tells the body to stay in “rest and recovery” mode, helping blood pressure to stay low.
This also keeps stress levels down and improves sleep quality if you continue to nasal breathe during the night, meaning you can get back to it quicker than before after physical exertion.
Mouth tape is the perfect accessory to help you reap all the benefits of nose breathing while running (and sleeping).
Tape Your Mouth as You Run (No, We Aren’t Kidding)
It may prove to be a challenge to switch from mouth breathing to nasal breathing if you’re used to mouth breathing for so long.
Mouth tape takes the work out of nose breathing while running. It forces you to maintain a proper tongue posture and makes it virtually impossible to breathe through the mouth.
As an added bonus, you can wear it as you sleep to stop snoring, improve your overall health, and get the quality sleep you’ve been missing.
SomniFix Mouth Strips are made for sensitive skin, making them comfortable for even the most challenging runs. Our strips are latex and gluten-free, hypoallergenic, and created with a gel-like adhesive that’s so comfortable, it’ll make you forget you’re even wearing something on your lips.
Plus, our Strips feature a small vent in the center in case you need to take a few small breaths from your mouth as you begin to make the switch from mouth breathing to nasal breathing.
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