Breathing through nose or mouth


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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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