What if I told you that breathing through your mouth and deeply is not necessarily good for you nor will it help you recover quickly! Changing the way you breathe may help improve your overall health and performance, whatever that looks like for you, by just improving your breathing.
We put a lot of time and effort into thinking about what, when and how much we eat and drink yet rarely do we think about when and how much we breathe! Let’s think about this for a second … we can live for weeks without food, days without water and air for only a few minutes! Yet when was the last time you paid attention to how and when you breathe?
Let me explain this a little further without being too technical! Put simply, taking in too much air is not good for us. This is called over breathing! Yep, we can actually take on too much air! And the air we exhale is carbon dioxide which most of us would have learnt at school at some point, and I was always under the belief that this was a waste gas from the lungs!
But NO ... I, like many, are wrong. We need carbon dioxide (CO2) to be present in our body as this determines how much oxygen can be released from the red blood cells. So, taking deep breaths or breathing quickly through our mouth allows too much CO2 to escape therefore reducing the amount of oxygen available.
So, next time you are out of breath avoid deep breaths as this might feel good but will not help you recover any faster. Instead, take small breaths through your nose as this will reduce the amount of CO2 escaping and will improve the quality of the air entering your lungs. This is because your nose acts like a filter as it removes a significant amount of germs and bacteria, warms and humidifies the air before it hits the lungs and importantly it adds nitric acid to the air which is an essential gas for maintaining good health.
So, the more you can breathe via your nose the better.
To find out if you ‘over breathe’ or are a mouth breather ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you snore or sleep with your mouth open? (if you wake up with a dry mouth then chances are you do)
- Do you wake up lethargic and unrested?
- When you are carrying out your daily tasks do you find yourself sighing or breathing through your mouth from time to time?
- Can you hear yourself breathing?
If you answered yes to any of these then you may want to book in with our Oxygen Advantage practitioner, Mark Hallam to find out how to rectify this. I know what you are thinking and no it’s not hard to fix!
Director of StudioForty6 & IoM Coach