This post is a bit different from my typical posts as it is based on my initial efforts to use nasal breathing while running. I've enjoyed running for some time, but recently have not been running as much. Perhaps, you could call it a COVID-19 slump, or maybe, you could just call it laziness. Either way, I've now decided to get off my butt and start running more regularly with hopes of participating in a half or full marathon in the future. As previously mentioned, I've also decided to practice what I preach and strive to solely breathe through my nose while running.
At work, I'm seeing more individuals that rely heavily upon mouth breathing at rest and during physical activities. With that being said, mouth breathing is never normal, and if at all possible, nasal breathing should be established to help improve one's health along with encouraging better sleep habits. Personally, I've never had any issues with mouth breathing at rest. Yet, I've taken way too many breaths via mouth while running and during exercise. I wonder how many of you may also fall within this category. When the going gets tough (talking exercise here), do you breathe through your mouth? It seems only natural to inhale deeply through your nose and mouth as you exercise, especially as your body demands more oxygen. Despite this, more and more evidence shows that nasal breathing should be practiced across all areas of life including intense exercise. So, I've decided to put up or shut up and start practicing nasal breathing during all exercise, especially running.
Going Nasal - My Experience Running in Las Vegas
I've only done a few runs so far incorporating primarily nasal breathing and I have to say it has been challenging. I feel like I intentionally have to manage my breathing pulling air in and pushing it out. Thankfully, the weather and specifically the mild temperatures have been conducive to running and have not undermined my nasal breathing efforts. Although, I am curious what it is going to feel like breathing through only my nose while running in over 100-degree heat with car exhaust and punishing asphalt temps bearing down on me; but, that is for future me to worry about. Getting back on track, changing habits is difficult no matter the habit and it seems shifting to nasal breathing while running is no exception.
However, I have noticed that it is getting somewhat easier to breathe nasally as I run. Just as improving one's running time or the overall distance you cover seems to become a little easier with every stride you take and every mile you get under your belt. I'm noticing that nasal breathing is becoming a little less effortful and a little more natural for me. I have also noticed that my overall breathing feels more comfortable while running. I don't know about you, but if you have ever stopped running for some time and then decided to get back into it, getting your lungs back into shape can be as big of a challenge as getting your legs ready for that next long run. I'm happy to report that (at least for now) my lungs don't feel as if they're on fire during a run and after a run, I don't feel like I'm gasping for air desperately grabbing for my non-existent inhaler.
Now, It's Your Turn
So, I encourage you to try to use nasal breathing during physical activity. Whether it is running, walking, weight lifting, or cross-training, use nasal breathing to facilitate appropriate breathing habits and use your nose for what it is meant to do...breathing. Thanks for reading. I plan to blog further about my efforts to incorporate nasal breathing into my runs, especially as I (hopefully) make improvements and progress towards my goal of running longer and longer distances using only nasal breathing.