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Most people don’t realize the impact that proper breathing techniques when running will have on their overall health. I attribute my ability to fight colds and flu with the proper breathing techniques I use while I run. There are many different ideas out there for how to breathe when you exercise. However, many ofthem have no scienfic basis or just some weak reasoning and logic behind them.

Buteyko breathing techniques are well researched Russian techniques to improve your overall health by reducing the amount and pace that you breathe.

Nasal Breathing When Running

Now that I have joined the ranks of runners, I pay attention to how other people who are running are breathing. I have noticed that many of them are still breathing through their mouths. This makes sense if you grew up in the United States like i did. The elementary school teachers in gym class told us to breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. During swimming, we were instructed to breathe in through our mouth and out through our nose.

The Buteyko breathing technique has you breathe through your nose the entire time you exercise. The cilia, or nose hairs, filter out toxins that may enter into your body when you breathe in through your nose. The nasal passages limit the volume of air that you take in compared to the mouth. This ensures that you won’t inhale more air than your body can handle at one time.

Breathing through your nose has many additional health benefits including:

  • An increase in the production of nitric oxide. This is an important cellular signaling molecule in the body which has a hand in many physiological processes. It helps expand blood vessels, increases blood flow and protects the organs from damage.
  • Lowers the heart rate and breath rate compared to mouth breathing.
  • Increases alpha brain wave activity when compared to mouth breathing. These are the brain waves that are produced during meditative and relaxed states. Mouth breathing, on the other hand, produces beta brain waves that are associated with a stress response.
  • Nasal breathing when exercising increases brain wave coherence. This is associated with an organized brain function.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

When you run, you should be breathing with your diaphragm. This ensures that the air is reaching the bottom chambers of your lung where the gas exfchange occurs.

Diaphramagtic breathing has the following health benefits:

  • Allows for efficient exchange of gas. The bottom two thirds of your lungs are where the gas exchange takes place, so utilizing your diaphragm to breathe helps to ensure that you are getting efficient gas exchange.
  • Reduces the tension in the upper chest. Chest breathing only can create tension in the shoulders and chest.
  • Rebalances the autonomic system. Diaphragmatic breathing helps to reduce the heart rate and the rate at which you breathe.
  • Improves digestion. The diaphragm massages the organs, which can promote peristalsis that is essential for digestion.
  • Helps with lymphatic drainage. The diaphragmatic massage stimulates the lympathic system with each breath because much of the lympathic system is located just below the diaphragm.
  • Good posture. Breathing with your diaphragm contributes to good posture and core muscle strength.

Resistance Breathing Devices

When you start trying to nasal breath during exercise, it can be initially frustrating. You are accustomed to panting in and out of your mouth when you start to get winded after a few minutes. This habit needs to be broken. You can train yourself to breathe through your nose at all time with a bit of effort.

There are resistance breathing devices that can help you to train yourself to use your diaphragm and to breathe less frequently. The Frolov breathing device is one of these devices that can help you get in the habit of breathing correctly 24/7. The disadvantage of the Frolov device is that it requires you to breathe through your mouth to achieve resistance.

The Expand – a – Lung fitness exerciser requires you to breathe through your mouth while you breathe against resistance. The advantage of the Expand-A-Lung fitness exerciser is that you can use it while you exercise. It does not require water and is very portable and easy to take with you. The disadvantage of the expand-a-lung is that it requires you to breathe through your mouth when you use it. While this device is very effective at promoting diaphragmatic breathing and reducing the number of breaths per minute, it doesn’t help you make the switch to nasal only breathing. You must conscientiously do this on your own.

Elevation Training Mask

The elevation training mask can assist you in strengthening your breathing while you exercise. This device has the benefit of resistance for your lungs while you are breathing through your nose. Because the elevation training mask is strapped to your face while exercising, you can increase the resistance that your lungs face while exercising. It is like adding a weight to your exercises.

Learn Buteyko For Proper Breathing Techniques

Learn the Buteyko breathing method and start running with proper breathing techniques. You will discover a higher level of health than you ever imagined. Tips to get your started:

  1. Check out youtube videos and watch how the Buteyko breathing exercises are done.
  2. Start slowly with nasal breathing. Only exercise with nasal breathing. When it starts getting uncomfortable to breathe through your nose while exercising. Stop and catch your breath (through your nose!)