This week’s content looks at how you can use nasal breathing to improve your exercise performance and 5 mobility exercises you should be doing everyday.
#1: Supercharge your athletic performance with nasal breathing + BONUS
If you persist with nose breathing for a period of time, 6-8 weeks, your exercise intensity will improve to the same par, but your ventilation will be a lot less… Can you imagine doing all of your physical exercise with 22% less breathing?– Patrick McKeown
Did you know nasal breathing while working out can significantly improve your exercise performance? In this interview with Patrick McKeown (author of the Oxygen Advantage) by Dr Rangan Chatterjee he outlines the many benefits of nasal breathing with an eye towards improving performance.
Here’s how you can start nasal breathing to improve your performance:
- Nasal breathe during exercise. Make a conscious effort to breathe through your nose while performing your exercise of choice.
- Let nasal breathing control the pace. Instead of focusing on speed or intensity, find a pace where you can maintain nasal breathing. As you get acclimated to nasal breathing your pace will increase.
- Use breath holds as you improve. To make the adaptation even more effective, as you get better, start using breath holding after an exhale while performing your exercise. For example, if you are running, take a breath in and then exhale and hold your breath while continuing to run for as long as you can.
BONUS: How to decongest your nose by using breath holding techniques
In the interview they also discussed a great way to decongest a stuffed up nose. Here’s the method:
- Take normal breath in through the nose and normal breath out through the nose.
- Pinch your nose and hold your breath (be sure to do this after you’ve exhaled).
- Gently nod your head up and down and keep holding your breath for as long as you can.
- When you feel a strong air hunger (desire to breathe) take a breath in through your nose and calm your breathing immediately.
- Wait a minute or so and then repeat the above process for 6 times.
- Don’t be surprised if your nose gets congested again as this is normal and if you are new to nasal breathing this will get better as you get more accustomed to this breathing.
- Size of your nasal cavity affects how much air flow you can take in. Having bigger nostrils and nose can allow more air with less resistance into your lungs.
- Elite marathoners utilize nasal breathing. Eliud Kipchoge, who broke the 2 hour marathon time, is mostly breathing through his nose while maintaining a 4:34.5 per mile pace for 26 miles.
- A researcher, Geroge Dallam, did a study looking at taking recreational athletes and having them switch from mouth to nasal breathing for 6 months. With nasal breathing their rate was 39 breaths/minute vs mouth breathing 49 breaths/minute and they were able to achieve the same amount of exercise work and intensity with 22% less ventilation (here’s a good discussion of the study).
- Breathing through your nose creates nitric oxide gas that gets absorbed into your bloodstream and helps release more oxygen into your muscles.
- As you breathe through your nose you carry nitric oxide into your lungs (mouth breathing doesn’t not produce this gas). Nitric oxide is a natural bronchial dilator it helps to open up the airways and improves the gas exchange of oxygen from the lungs into the bloodstream.
- Our need to breathe is not dictated by the amount of oxygen we are consuming, but the buildup of carbon dioxide that are bodies want to get rid of.
- Free diving record of holding breath is 12 minutes.
- Nasal breathing forces you to use your diaphragm which creates intra abdominal pressure stabilizing your spine potentially preventing injury.
- Less trauma to the airways (when breathing through the mouth moisture is taken out of the lungs and mouth) and less water loss. Approximately, 42% greater water loss with mouth breathing vs nasal breathing.
References, sources and more:
#2: 5 Mobility Exercises You Should Do Every Single Damn Day
When we start to move our hips less and our spine less everything starts to go downhill fast. So what we need to do is work very hard in our daily activity with movements that will restore our range of motion.– Chris Wilson
If you’re over 40 (or even if you are not) most likely you haven’t reached your optimal physical mobility level (none of us have). Here are 5 movements you should do as often as possible. You should do these movements before workouts and as often as you can as an antidote to sitting on your ass all day.
- Assisted/Deep Squat Pry. Get down into a squat and get your elbows to push the knees out. Rock side to side and use assistance if necessary.
- Single Leg Toe Touch. Stand up and alternate touching the ground on one leg with the other leg extending back. Try doing this barefoot as you will build more stability and feel grounded.
- Thread the needle. Get down on all fours and put one arm under the armpit and then raise it to the sky. There are variations of this exercise which you can see in the videos linked above.
- Frog Pose. Get down on your knees. Widen your knees outside of your hips and turn your toes out. Rock back and forward but don’t push beyond your limits.
- The Bootstrap A.K.A the Toe/Touch Butt/Drop. Get in a squat stance and bend from your hips, grabbing your toes the entire time. Drop your butt and look forward, then get back up.
References, sources and more: