Most times when people think about improving their cardio and performance output, they think of gasping for air at the end of a workout and feeling completely drained.
Awesome Cardio Bro
Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place for that kind of workout, but it’s very sparing and needs to be intelligently placed in your program.
What we want to talk about today is how nasal breathing in exercise can make a great benefit to your performance.
Patrick McKeown is the author of the book The Oxygen Advantage and has been a researcher and leading expert in the field of nasal breathing and its relationships to sports performance and health. Below we can talk about some of the benefits nasal breathing has had on sports performance through his eyes.
Many of the points noted in this have been taken from the article listed below by Patrick Mckeown.
Mckeown, Patrick. “Nasal Breathing Running.” Oxygen Advantage, 5 Aug. 2020, https://oxygenadvantage.com/nasal-breathing-running/.
It can be difficult to get started in implementing nasal breathing in your training, especially if you have never done it before. One way to get started is to just practice at rest, and an easy way to do that is use the box breathing method.
We can use a 5 second count where we inhale for 5s, pause for 5s, exhale for 5s, then pause for 5s. You SHOULD NOT be trying to force the air in or out with much effort, nor should you be trying to clench on the pauses.
The airflow should be pretty consistent all the way in and out. You shouldn’t feel like you have to gasp a lot of air in on the first 1-2s. It stays in the same flow from the first second to the fifth second.
So you can even try it for one or two rounds right here.
If you feel too uncomfortable or this count is too long, you can always shorten the length to 3 or 4s on all the measures, and build your way up to 5s.
You ideally want to perform this for 5-15min/day to start to get the full benefits of this method.
During your training, you want the nasal breathing to never be a high force strategy where the neck and other muscles are tensing just for the sake of keeping the mouth closed. You are basically creating the same tension as you would with a mouth breath in this instance.
Ideally, your nasal breaths should have slight resistance felt. If you go to hard and need to mouth breathe, that is ok. It just tells you where your threshold is at and where you need to work from.
Still needing help with implementing this strategy in your program?
Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can answer your question personally.
Dr. Peter Dionisopoulos is the owner and founder of Dynamic Performance & Rehab. He has worked with many high-level athletes and military personnel, but his true passion is to help active adults maintain their lifestyle by providing information and potential solutions to their aches and pains so they can continue with the activities they love.