The benefits of nose breathing in endurance sports
Have you ever tried to breathe through the hole of a straw? The feeling of panic is almost immediate, and it is hard to imagine being able to last more than a few minutes. The effect is similar to breathing through your nose during physical activity. We feel stuck. We feel that our breath is cut off and that we are in some way prisoners of our body.
On the other hand, unlike breathing through a straw, once mastered, once the fear of running out of air is behind us, nasal breathing has several very interesting physiological advantages for athletes who practice endurance sports.
At its simplest, nose breathing in everyday life has many benefits. The nose acts as a filter that humidifies and warms the air that enters our body, allowing the lungs to do their job better, in addition to providing a natural barrier against several types of microbes. To begin with, all you have to do is think about it. Be aware of our air intake in daily activities. Cooking, walking, cleaning.
Once this first step has been taken, it will be time to integrate nasal breathing into your sports practice. But why inflict this pain on yourself?
The first reason is simple. By breathing through your nose for the majority of your training sessions, you ensure that you respect the recommended effort to stay in zone 1. This zone is a favorite zone for developing your aerobic system, and the majority of your training should be made in this area . It will be impossible for you to raise your pulse too high, and this will be beneficial in the long run.
The second reason is a bit more technical. By breathing through your nose, you make sure to let the C02 carry the oxygen present in your blood to your cells. Conversely, by breathing less deeply through your mouth, you expel the C02 before it has fulfilled its most important mission. Your muscles and your organs therefore do not have enough oxygen and this causes a decrease in their capacity for both performance and endurance and your training will be much less positive than if you practiced breathing through your nose. This will allow you to train more effectively, for longer, and thus maximize your adaptation.
Eventually, by concentrating on deep nasal breathing, the mind enters a sort of trance akin to meditation. Ideas are clarified and we refocus on our body and our sensations. Many athletes use sport as an outlet, and this simple change can lead to a higher level of serenity and connection with oneself.
As with all changes, breathing through your nose requires adaptation. But once this barrier is crossed, it becomes natural to do so during low intensity rides. Start with a few minutes at the start of the activity, then add more time as you feel ready!