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Breathing Through Your Nose During Strenuous Exercise

By Melissa McNamara ; Updated August 14, 2017

You start life breathing through your nose, but at some point many individuals begin to breath through their mouths. According to Healthy Place, breathing through the nose is the natural and beneficial way to breathe, as nasal hairs act as a filter for dust particles, bacteria and other foreign bodies, purifying air before it enters the lungs and the bloodstream. This filtering system is not available through the mouth. Breathing through your nose also stimulates nerves in your nasal passages, making nose breathing more beneficial for you when you exercise strenuously.

Oxygen Intake

According to Yoga Health Benefits, inhaling through your nose makes the flow of oxygen more effective since it reaches all vital organs of the body. Because your nose has a smaller entrance and exit for air, your breath is unable to exit your lungs as quickly as it can discharge through your mouth, allowing your lungs to use more oxygen. Therefore, nose breathing helps balance the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood.

Misconceptions

A misconception is that because air is inhaled more quickly through your mouth that mouth-breathing provides you more oxygen, making it easier to complete your exercise routine. But the fact is that mouth-breathing actually causes you to breathe excess air, which can cause hypertension or trigger your body into a fight-or-flight mode. This makes mouth-breathing counter-productive to strenuous exercise -- which is supposed to reduce stress and tension.

Mouth Disadvantages

According to Optimal Breathing, exhaling through your mouth sends signals to your brain indicating carbon dioxide is lost too rapidly, which causes goblet cells to produce mucous, slowing your breathing and causing constriction of your arteries and blood vessels. Constriction limits the amount of oxygen your body uses during strenuous exercise, reducing your energy and making it difficult to complete your workout routine.

Nose-Breathing and Vitality

Breathing through your nose not only helps your exercise routine but also improves your overall vitality. To achieve optimal benefits from breathing, observe your breathing patterns. If you catch yourself breathing through your mouth, stop, and begin nose breathing.

Exception to Nose Exhalation

One exception to inhaling and exhaling through your nose is when you practice meditative or stress-relieving deep-breathing exercises. During this type of exercise, inhale through your nose. Hold the breath for several seconds, and then exhale through pursed lips. Pilates is a form of exercise that encourages mouth exhalation because mouth exhalations through pursed lips contract your abdominal muscles, which can help in core strengthening.

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