Yesterday, you may have have noticed Darrin, a level 3 NKT practitioner and a Certified Massage Therapist working on some of our athletes upstairs. Many of the athletes got a cue to breathe through their nose. While this nasal breathing may be new to some of you, this kind of breathing has been around a long time. Here is a short article on some of the benefits of nasal breathing. Of these 15 benefits, here are the benefits that we are going after in a training context:
- Nasal breathing exercise increased brain wave coherence compared to mouth breathing exercise. Brain wave coherence is associated with calm and organized brain function.
- Nasal breathing exercise was perceived as less exertion (it was easier) as compared to mouth breathing exercise, according to the Borg Scale of Perceived Exertion.
- Nasal breathing exercise demonstrated shorter recovery times and better endurance than mouth breathing exercise.
- Nasal Breathing exercise reported 50% less fight or flight stress and 50% more calm parasympathetic activation when compared to mouth breathing exercise.
If you are more hardcore and need another “voice”:
“What is less obvious to all athletes is “how to breathe” to maximize O2 uptake with minimum energy expenditure: The more efficiently one breathes the less O2 is used by the breathing musculature so more is available to the skeletal (working) muscles. There are postural issues at play as well but I won’t get into it now. To maximize O2 uptake for minimum energy expenditure can be as complicated as learning and practicing the ideal frequency/tidal volume of breathing for an individual athlete in a particular sport or as simple as understanding that the greater the quantity of CO2 exhaled the higher the volume of O2 may be taken in with each inhalation. Learning to exhale is the first step because, for the most part, we are only recycling the CO2 in the throat and top portion of the lungs [if you don’t fully exhale]. Using the breathing ladders* can teach proper breathing form of course, but I believe the breathing ladders teach one how best to rest and recover, how to quickly reduce O2 demand, quickly drive HR down, etc. Each player seems to have a different trick for this, so there are many right answers to the problem – the ladders are a simple way to force the player to consider breathing and posture and how these relate to the quality of a rest period.”
* A breathing ladder is 1 movement, like a KB swing, then while resting, 1 breath, 2 movements, 2 breaths, etc.
Finally, breathing through your nose is a great way to manage intensity. Many workouts we do, like the Get It Done (GID) or the ABDominator should be done at a pace where you can either talk conversationally or breathe through your nose. If you can do that, then you probably can keep good technique which is the point of these workouts.
As Darrin noticed yesterday, we have quite a few smart people here at MDSoF and I am sure you all noticed that all of the references in the above article refer to the same book which is written by the author of the article. Not exactly good science. Keep an open mind on this and, in the future, expect to see some workshops on breathing.