Nasal breathing has many benefits, including activating your parasympathetic nervous system and supporting relaxation, increasing oxygen update and circulation.
Breathing, something we generally all take for granted. Yet without it, we can barely survive a few minutes! Unless of course you are trained in holding your breath like free divers are.
So yes, we all breathe. However, this doesn’t mean it is done in such a way which supports our health. For example, many of us breathe fast and shallow through our mouth, and use our upper chests, even when at rest. This is incredibly inefficient and unfortunately has a significantly negative impact on our health and wellbeing.
Did you know that nasal breathing through your nose results in a 10 to 20% greater oxygen uptake in the blood?!
Mouth breathing can contribute to stress, anxiety, brain fog and poor body oxygenation. It’s a significant barrier to good quality sleep. Our mouths are not designed for breathing, unlike the nose.
The nose is an essential part of the breathing system. It warms, humidifies and filters air as it enters the body. The nose protects the airways against irritation and infection. It also prevents dehydration. When we breathe out through an open mouth, the body loses 42 percent more water than during nose breathing. See the tips below as to how to optimise your breath.
The secret to better health, fitness and overall wellbeing is to breathe:
Breathing in such a way activates the body’s rest and digest functions, rebalancing the fight, flight or freeze stress response. Really importantly, it engages the diaphragm, which is the primary breathing muscle.
Proper diaphragm function is also essential for the stability of the spine and core. When we breathe properly, we are less susceptible to back and neck pain and have better balance. As mouth breathing tends to be predominantly in the upper chest, it causes the body to compensate for this by using smaller ‘accessory’ breathing muscles - causing excessive tension up around the neck and shoulders especially. Improper use of the diaphragm also has a knock on effect on our emotions and our pain perception.
Ok, what have you got to lose!? Start noticing your breathing more often. Remember to let it breathe through your nose, slowly and lightly. Simple!
Recommended reading: The Oxygen Advantage: The Simple, Scientifically Proven Breathing Techniques for a Healthier, Slimmer, Faster, and Fitter You