Training Tips

Noses Are For Breathing, Mouths Are For Eating

Rob Svarich
July 25, 2022

The prevalence of mouth breathing among athletes and the general population at rest and during exercise cannot be ignored; it is simply unacceptable to breathe through your mouth.

Effects of Mouth Breathing

  • Mouth breathing children are at greater risk for developing forward head posture and reduced respiratory strength.
  • Mouth breathing contributes to general dehydration-Mouth breathing during sleep results in waking up with a dry mouth
  • A dry mouth increases acidification of the mouth and results in more dental cavities and gum disease.
  • Mouth breathing causes bad breath due to altered bacterial flora
  • Breathing through the mouth has been proven to significantly increase the number of occurrences of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Nature intended for all mammals to breathe through their nose, humans are no exception.

Functions of Nasal Breathing

  • Nasal breathing imposes approximately 50% more resistance to the airstream than mouth breathing, resulting in a 10-20% increase in O2 uptake.
  • Nasal breathing warms and humidifies incoming air-air entering the nose at 6 degrees will be warmed to 30 degrees by the time it touches the back of the throat, and 33 degrees (body temp) before reaching the lungs
  • Nasal breathing removes a significant amount of germs and bacteria from the air you breathe in.
  • Nasal breathing during exercise allows for a working intensity great enough to produce an aerobic training effect based on heart rate and % of VO2 max.
  • The nose is a reservoir for nitric oxide, an essential gas for maintenance of good health. Nitric oxide plays an important role in vasoregulation, homeostasis, neurotransmission, immune defence, and respiration. It helps prevent high blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, keeps arteries young and flexible, prevents the clogging of arteries with plaque and clots. All of these reduce your risk of stroke or heart attack-2 of the top 3 killers in the United States.
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