Do you experience shortness of breath, a tight chest, coughing or sore throat, or less than optimal endurance during exercise, which even continues for a short period after the activity ends?

These are symptoms of EIB – exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. EIB is most often due to mouth breathing during exercise. When we breathe through our mouths, air is drier and colder, which causes the air passages (specifically the bronchi) to constrict. Our noses are designed to humidify and regulate the temperature of the air we are breathing, and so we lose those benefits when we bypass the nose and breathe through the mouth. We also make ourselves more vulnerable to illness as the nose filters particles in the air.

An article published in the Journal of Sports Research in 2020 examined the effects of nasal breathing during exercise in a review of 30 published studies. The article concludes that breathing nasally during exercise exclusively is achievable for most people during moderate aerobic exercise without too much adaptation, and that it is possible to achieve this during high intensity exercise with training and practice. Researchers summarised the benefits of nasal breathing as, ‘a reduction in exercise induced bronchoconstriction, improved ventilatory efficiency, and lower physiological economy for a given level or work.’

The Oxygen Advantage method (I am an Oxygen Advantage certified instructor) of breathing strongly advocates for nasal breathing during exercise to improve performance and reduce exercise related health issues such as EIB. Contact me to improve your breathing during exercise.

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Reference: Dallam, G. & Kies, B. (2020). “The Effect of Nasal Breathing Versus Oral and Oronasal Breathing During Exercise: A Review”, Journal of Sports Research. 7 (10).18488/journal.90.2020.71.1.10.