The benefits of breathing through your nose during endurance sports
Have you ever tried to breathe through the end of a straw? There’s an almost immediate feeling of panic, and it’s 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 smothered. We feel that our breath has been cut off and that we’re somehow prisoners of our bodies.
On the other hand, unlike breathing through a straw, once mastered, nasal breathing has several exciting physiological advantages for athletes who practice endurance sports once the fear of running out of air is behind us.
At its simplest, nose breathing in everyday life has many benefits. The nose acts as a filter that humidifies and warms the air entering our bodies, helping the lungs do their job better and providing a natural barrier against several types of microbes. To begin, all you have to do is think about it. Be aware of your air intake in daily activities such as cooking, walking, and cleaning.
Once this first step has been taken, you can integrate nasal breathing into your athletic training. But why inflict this pain on yourself?
The first reason is simple. By breathing through your nose for most of your training sessions, you’ll ensure that you respect the recommended effort to stay in zone 1. This zone is a favourite zone for developing your aerobic system, and most of your training should be done in this zone. It will become impossible for you to raise your pulse too high, which will be beneficial in the long run.
The second reason is a bit more technical. By breathing through your nose, you let the C02 bring oxygen in your blood to your cells. On the other hand, by breathing less deeply through your mouth, you expel the C02 before it has fulfilled its most important mission. Therefore, your muscles and organs do not have enough oxygen, and this causes a decrease in their capacity for both performance and endurance. Your training will be much less effective than if you practiced breathing through your nose. This will help you train more better and for a longer period of time. You’ll be able to maximize your “acclimatization.”
Eventually, by focusing on deep nasal breathing, the mind enters a kind of trance akin to meditation. Ideas become clearer, and we can refocus on our bodies and our sensations. Many athletes use sports 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 outings. Begin with a few minutes at the start of the activity, then add more time as you feel ready!