Breathing through nose or mouth


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Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby Guest » Wed Oct 22, 2003 8:51 pm

When running long distance, is one better than the other? Or are they the same?

I always thought it was an old wives' tale when the occasional person would tell me, "Breathe through your nose," when I was running. I would think, what difference does it make? The air is going into my lungs either way.

Now here I am, almost 40 (but more like 15 inside), and my wife tells me, "Breathe through your nose." What the hell? Well, I tried it and thought about it as I did it, and you know what? Your lungs seem to fill up differently when you breathe through your nose.

Am I imagining things? Or is there something I don't know about breathing through one's nose?
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby Guest » Wed Oct 22, 2003 9:32 pm

When I was in the 8th grade, my P.E. teacher told me to breathe through my nose while running the mile.......... I contined breathing only through my nose through most of my freshman year of XC, until the coach finally noticed and told me to breathe though my mouth. Suddenly, I drop from 19:30 to high 17's!
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby pickle47 » Wed Oct 22, 2003 9:55 pm

Let me ask you this: Take a deep breath and start running up a hill at full speed while holding your breath. After the fifteen, thirty or howevermany seconds that it takes you to arrive at the verge of blacking out, stop. Now start breathing. What happens next? My guess is that you, like every other human being that thinks they are on the verge of dying due to lack of oxygen, would at that point breath through your ears if you could!

Just get the air in. I believe any doctor will tell you that, once the air has passed through the nasal cavity to where it meets up with the trachea, it's all going the same route. Besides, you're still breathing through your nose when you breathe through your mouth, unless you can close your nose. I can't close mine.
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby Piglet » Wed Oct 22, 2003 11:33 pm

Use your blowhole.

Seriously---just breath. Often. Deeply.
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby Guest » Thu Oct 23, 2003 3:34 am

The following is not really a running question: does breathing through the nose allow oxygen to go more quickly to the brain (absorbing through sinuses, nasal cavity)? Or is all the oxygen inhaled still having to go through the lungs to get to the brain?
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby Guest » Thu Oct 23, 2003 4:46 am

i was actually thinking about this on my run last night. i can't get enough air in through my nose so i can't go that route. but my question is:

how deeply should you breathe?

I've always just did whatever was natural. but would breathing much deeper help keep my HR down?

has there been any research on this?
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby Guest » Thu Oct 23, 2003 5:39 am

A topic of equal relevance: Is it really necessary to run by ALTERNATING right and left legs? Might it not be possible to run faster by using, say, the right leg twice in a row, then the left leg twice, etc.? Boy, I really wonder...
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby Guest » Thu Oct 23, 2003 6:00 am

First man forgets how to run, and then he forgets how to breathe. Do both without inhibitions! Throw away your preconceived notions! Run like a child would; breathe like a child would!

When you run, breathe as to take in as much air as possible. You’ll soon find that it is through the mouth (and you will fare better when you have a cold).

When you run, do not run rigid, with shoulders set like a military man at attention. Do not land with the heel first, far out in front of the body. It will only slow you down. Land on the ball of the foot, or nearly so, directly under the body. “Move over the ground, not on it.” Practice this stride on grass or dirt without shoes or with spikes shoes. Notice now the foot naturally lands beneath the body, on the ball. Notice that you have to TRY to land on the heel. Heel landings are unnatural, inefficient. Run like this for a week or so. Put your shoes back on. Notice how your stride retains the newly learned natural form. Your body likes it better this way; so will you. Better yet, leave your shoes off, and run on the trails all the time. You would soon be at the head of Kenyan cavalry charges. The Africans runners are efficient, they have not lost their natural stride by running in thick heeled on paved roads. They do not face the pounding that our boys take out on the roads and walks. Train and live the natural way. We can all see where science has gotten athletes of late… The only supplements that you need are natural, uncooked foods, good life in the open air, hard running, and natural running: a stoic but pleasant existence. "On this basis the whole world, and all that it has to offer, opens out as a vision splendid, normal and realizable."
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby Guest » Thu Oct 23, 2003 6:10 am

after a simple google search i answered my own question.

i forgot guys, i shouldn't ask hacks like you questions where you might have to think.

people like you are what make going to forums like this crappy. go home

http://faculty.washington.edu/crowther/ ... feed.shtml
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby Guest » Thu Oct 23, 2003 6:20 am

“how deeply should you breathe?
I've always just did whatever was natural.”

You answered your own question in your original post.

And your link…

(1)“Breathe deeply from the abdomen, not from the chest.”

What I said to begin with: naturally.

But then again, you always were stupid bastard.
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby dunes runner » Thu Oct 23, 2003 7:05 am

> A topic of equal relevance: Is it really necessary to run by ALTERNATING right and left legs? Might it not be possible to run faster by using, say, the right leg twice in a row, then the left leg twice, etc.? Boy, I really wonder...

What you are referring to is called skipping, which can be helpful but is not faster than alternating the legs.

Cerutty recommended "galloping" and "trotting" etc, which is fun and easier to do than skipping.

If you're running along and get a twinge in your knee or leg etc, try galloping along for awhile, alternating lead legs, and it usually gets the legs back to normal.
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby dunes runner » Thu Oct 23, 2003 7:10 am

I agree, when running, do it any way that feels "normal".

A danger would be "over breathing" which could cause arythimias and other problems. It also washes out co2 buffers.

When not running, practice of yoga breathing, holding your breath etc, is helpful.

Plug "breathing buteyko" into Google to find links about proper breathing.

Also, top divers such as Tanya Streeter have good methods to develop breathing skills.
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby Guest » Thu Oct 23, 2003 7:52 am

The answer is intuitive - how can you inspire the most air? More volume through the mouth than the nose, duh.
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby 6 5.5hjsteve » Thu Oct 23, 2003 8:38 am

someone asked about oxygen "getting to the brain quicker via the nose than the mouth."

I am not a doctor but I remember basic junior high school science class:

ALL oxygen gets throughout the body mixed in the blood, no other way, and ALL air goes to the lungs. The blood picks up oxygen by making a stop at the lungs after leaving the heart.

So as everyone has aid, just breath. Everything else just happens naturally.
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby dl » Thu Oct 23, 2003 9:00 am

This isn't a great answer to the original question, but I do know that the amount of oxygen that's taken up by the blood from the lungs is not limited by inspiration (i.e. the amount of air breathed in) but rather by the amount of blood that can be pumped to the lungs. That's why nasal strips are bogus.

The decision to breathe through your mouth of nose is an individual one. Do what feels right. But you DO lost more water by breating through your mouth. That could be a factor in longer runs/races in hot weather.
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby Guest » Thu Oct 23, 2003 10:53 am

I never really thought about it but I breath through my mouth (I think) and have a tested VO2 Max of 72.

Can imagine getting enough air just breathing through your nose. Maybe my nose is not big enough?
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby Guest » Thu Oct 23, 2003 11:28 am

try a really, really long snorkel in training so you'll be breathing in air from high altitude. use a regular snorkel for races and wear a diving mask too, to minimize water loss from your eyes.
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby abinferno » Thu Oct 23, 2003 3:33 pm

As has been stated, it's impossible to take in enough volume of air to maintain proper function through your nose. No distance runner on earth runs breathing through his nose. Watch any race, everyone has their mouths open and are breathing hard.
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby pickle47 » Thu Oct 23, 2003 10:10 pm

Re: Absorbing oxygen through your nasal cavity/roof of your mouth into your brain/bloodstream. If your body could absorb/transfer oxygen through your skin/tissue in this manner, just think; you could drown taking a shower tomorrow morning!
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby Guest » Fri Oct 24, 2003 5:24 am

Or, as my wife used to say, "Why do men's penises have a hole in the end?"

To get oxygen directly to the brain.
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby Guest » Fri Oct 24, 2003 6:24 am

>Re: Absorbing oxygen through your nasal
>cavity/roof of your mouth into your
>brain/bloodstream. If your body could
>absorb/transfer oxygen through your skin/tissue
>in this manner, just think; you could drown
>taking a shower tomorrow morning!

Now wait a minute; people snort coke through their nose, rather than their armpits, for some reason!
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby Cerutty Boy » Fri Oct 24, 2003 6:26 am

>Or, as my wife used to say, "Why do men's
>penises have a hole in the end?"

To get
>oxygen directly to the brain.

Your rather undignified post reminded me of a topic that I came across years ago in my study of South American culture:

While performing excavations at Aztec ruins, archeologists discovered a number of skulls with holes drilled straight through the top. The variety of relics and preserved garments indicated that the remains were, without doubt, those of Aztec priests. In searching for clues as to why the holes would have been created, the archeologists first considered sacrifice, a common practice among the Aztecs. This was later rejected for a variety of reasons. Among them, local legends, tales from New World conquerors, and ancient runes described supernatural powers of the Aztec priests. It was theorized that the holes increased the absorption of oxygen by the brain (gaseous exchange can occur across any moist membrane), granting the priests their powers.


Currently, numerous studies have confirmed that running improves scores on tests of intelligence, i.e. it makes people smarter. The number one reason given for this occurrence is increased blood flow to the brain (and hence increased oxygen availability), brought about by the increased amount of vascular tissues (blood vessels) in the brain and increased blood volume.

Conclusion: If you want to be smarter, go run. If you want to be a lot smarter, drill holes in your head.
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby Guest » Fri Oct 24, 2003 6:30 am

Interesting; you would think the brain might be subject to some damage by the diminishing of oxygen to the brain that hard physical exercise might entail. People pass out while running, or feel faint -- the body is shunting oxygen to the muscles while trying to protect supply to the brain . . .
If the brain isn't a muscle, would exercise really increase blood capillaries/vessels there?
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby Guest » Fri Oct 24, 2003 6:35 am

>Currently, numerous studies have
>confirmed that running improves scores on tests
>of intelligence, i.e. it makes people smarter.>

Please cite at least one source on this. And no, a self-serving article in Runner's World doesn't count.
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby Cerutty Boy » Fri Oct 24, 2003 6:38 am

If the brain isn't a muscle, would
>exercise really increase blood
>capillaries/vessels there?

The contribution of the increased blood volume cannot be overlooked.

By anecdote:

My high school health teacher had a sign posted in her classroom that read "dehydration affects mental clarity" with the picture of a cat with the caption "dog." With dehydration, the blood (which is, by volume, mostly water) decreases in volume and becomes more viscous. Therefore, less blood is available to carry oxygen to the brain, resulting in the muddled thoughts.

The higher plane of thought would not occur during the run (when the muscles are using the lion's share of the body's blood), but afterward, once the body is recovered and adaptation has taken place.
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby Cerutty Boy » Fri Oct 24, 2003 6:40 am

Please cite at least one source on
>this. And no, a self-serving article in Runner's
>World doesn't count.

Performed a Google search, the first link is below:

http://www.mercola.com/2002/jan/9/jogging.htm

Many more appear.
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby Guest » Thu Oct 30, 2003 5:27 pm

breathe through both deeply and quietly to stay relaxed, if you relax the air will naturally come out of your nose making for a more efficient breathe , no scientist can tell you the way its all up to you
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby Guest » Thu Oct 30, 2003 5:39 pm

You want to exhale completely in order to get the carbon dioxide out of the lower portion of the lungs.
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby Guest » Thu Oct 30, 2003 5:57 pm

breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth. exhaling through the mouth releases a higher rate of, i think it is carbon dioxide, whatever the used up oxygen is called.
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby go pre » Thu Oct 30, 2003 6:39 pm

personally, i prefer to inhale through my nose and exhale through my mouth. as i increase the pace of my run, more of my breathing is done through my mouth. but i feel whether you breathe through your nose or your mouth is far less important that the rhythm of your breathing. it should be relaxed, but controlled - not forced. i usually time my breathing with my steps - inhale for four strides, exhale for four strides.
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby oldvaulter » Thu Oct 30, 2003 8:51 pm

I think the various posts in this thread collectively address the question pretty well as far as running goes. My observation/experience is that most runners breathe through the nose and mouth, simultaneously, in various proportions according to their personal physiology, and the oxygen demands of the race or workout.

But to address an interesting aspect of the original question, why the many general recommendations to "breathe through your nose"? This is because that is the correct advice for normal, sedentary, activity. Breathing through the nose provides filtering, germicidal, and warming functions not provided by breathing through the mouth. In normal or sedentary activity, it is much healthier to breathe through the nose. Habitual mouth breathers suffer many health and respiratory problems which do not affect nose breathers.

The mouth provides an additional breathing channel for use during high-oxygen demand activities, such as running and other intense exercise. Also singing, and to some extent, talking.

Breathing through the nose does, to some extent, stimulate the brain, but not by providing oxygen directly to the brain, but by the generally stimulating effect of the physical passage of air over the nerves in the cranial region of the upper nasal passages. It's easy to feel this stimulating effect directly by concentrating on the feeling of the air passing through the nasal passages.
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby Guest » Fri Oct 31, 2003 7:08 am

What is the value of warming the air (as you breathe through the nose)? Does it oxygenate better into the bloodstream?
I breathe through the mouth while running, and in winter I sometimes feel like I'm not getting as much air in, or enough oxygen from it -- I breathe harder more quickly -- I feel more efficient in warmer weather. Is it because colder air doesn't absorb in the lungs as well as warm air? Why else would it be important to warm the air by breathing through the nose?
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Re: Breathing through nose or mouth

Postby oldvaulter » Fri Oct 31, 2003 6:45 pm

>What is the value of warming the air (as you
>breathe through the nose)? Does it oxygenate
>better into the bloodstream?

Since nearly all chemical reactions are facilitated by heat, it may well be that the oxygen in warmed air is more readily absorbed in the lungs. I've never seen any specific data on this, however. Generally, metabolic processes occur optimally at body temperature.

As far as I know, the principal value of the warming of inhaled air in the nasal passages is to protect the delicate membranes of the respiratory passages and lungs from the irritating effect of cold air.
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