Molokai 2012 Tim Altman4

Article: Keep Your Mouth Shut To Improve Your Performance

Nose Breathing Improves Athletic Performance

A great article by Annette Verpillot of Posturepro (shared by the ‘Strength Sensei’ website, www,srengthsensei.com), on the importance of nose breathing for athletic performance.

Here is a quote from the article that summarises much of the content.

“It has been known for many years that people with proper occlusion of your mouth have greater endurance and better performance than those with malocclusion. The alignment of the muscles of the jaw and teeth can have a direct impact on a player’s performance and strength, as the upper and lower jaw are what allows you to connect your anterior and posterior muscular chains. Without the jaw it would be impossible to exert strength.”

“The vast majority of health care professionals are unaware of the negative impact of mouth breathing on global health and sports performance. The development of the jaw and all the functions attached to it, nasal breathing, chewing, suction, swallowing and phonation, will either put the body in a state of physiologic health or state of dysfunction.”

In addition, the article also discussed that (and I’ve added to the points they make) when you nose breathe, you:

  • increase energy production in the cells by increased supply of oxygen to the cells – based on the principles of the Bohr Effect.
  • allow the body to function more in a parasympathetic, or relaxed, state – which also improves immune function, digestion, blood flow to the brain and increases serotonin and melatonin levels.
  • increase nitric oxide production which enhances memory and learning, regulates blood pressure, reduces inflammation, improves sleep quality, increases endurance and strength, and improves immune function. 
  • increase the flow of air through your nasal system and sinuses, preventing mucous from getting blocked or clogged.
  • allow the nose and sinuses to do their job so you deliver filtered, disinfected, air conditioned, moist air to the lungs for optimal gas exchange – which is how they like it. 
  • reduce the volume and rate of breathing which, based on the priniciples of the Bohr Effect, optimises delivery of oxygen to the cells for energy production, and also allows for the tubes in the body to be more vasodilated resulting in improved function of the systems these tubes service – the respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic, digestive, urinary systems etc.

This article was shared by a close friend and colleague of mine, Ramon Andersson, head kayaking coach at the Western Australian Institute of Sport, who has done a lot of training of optimal breathing both personally and with his athletes. Our subsequent discussion agreed that once you get above anaerobic threshold in intensity of exercise, it is often necessary to use the mouth to facilitate breathing, as the intensity is at a level where it is extremely uncomfortable to nose breathe on it’s own.

The consensus is, from our own trials and with those we have trained, that at this level of intensity, as long as the inhalation is driven by the diaphragm first, before using the chest and shoulders to increase the volume of air inhaled, then the efficiency of breathing is still optimised. That is because using the diaphragm will allow you to use the full lung volume for gas exchange, as well as having greater control of both inhalation and exhalation which then allows you achieve slower breathing rates at certain intensities of exercise. The importance of this is that of all functions controlled by the autonomic nervous system (meaning that they are automatic), breathing, via the diaphragm, is the one function we can consciously control with ease (with training of course). As such, our breathing can influence other bodily functions controlled by our autonomic nervous system – including heart rate, digestion, the immune system, neurotransmitter levels etc.

Getting to the point; being able to breathe at lower breathing rates for a certain level of exercise intensity, will also allow you to have a slower heart rate, greater oxygen delivery to cells for energy production, reduced lactic acid levels, and for you to be more relaxed whilst exercising at this level. In other words, you will be far more efficient, or get more from your body.

If you would like to learn how to breathe more efficiently whilst exercising, and therefore increase your performance potential, contact me at tim@timaltman.com.au or call 0425 739 918.

 

 

 

Breathing Man Running

Video: How To Breathe When Exercising Part 1 – The Nose

Most Of Us Were Incorrectly Taught How To Breathe When Exercising…

A video from my Youtube channel discussing how to correctly breathe when exercising.

Based on the structure of the nose, lungs and the dynamics of how we deliver oxygen from the air in our lungs to our cells via the blood stream for energy production (these dynamics are explained by ‘The Bohr Effect’ which which Danish biochemist, Christian Bohr won a Nobel Prize, and is studied in all mainstream medicine, physiology and biochemistry courses), most of us breathe incorrectly. We certainly do not meet what are the accepted medical diagnostic norms for functional breathing – see also my video ‘Breathing Is Life’ linked here for more information on this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zulIZxuEUvw&index=31&list=UUGq51Ggda2H9na1z01KA5zQ

We were also taught incorrectly how to breathe when exercising.

This  video will explain why, and will start to explain how to correct it. Stay tuned for part 2 (The Diaphragm) soon.

If you like this video, subscribe to my Youtube channel, my website, or book in for an appointment.

Or if you are a coach, or trainer, I’d be happy to come and train you and your group/team – tim@timaltman.com.au or 0425 739 918

 

Breathing Man Diaphragm

Video: How To Breathe Using Your Diaphragm

Diaphragm Breathing Explained

I often get asked by clients, “how do I breathe using my diaphragm?”

Or, “I can’t feel my diaphragm move during breathing.”

Watch this video to see how I answer this common question…..

If you would like to learn more, contact me via tim@timaltman.com.au or 0425 739 918.

And if you like the video, feel free to subscribe to my Youtube Channel (Tim Altman).

Breathing Dynamics for Sporting Performance

Advanced Breathing: The Last Unchartered Frontier of Sporting Performance

Breathing Dynamics for Sporting Performance

Benefits derived from optimal breathing during exercise:

  • Greater surface area of lungs used for gas exchange.

  • Increased oxygen delivery to cells.

  • Delayed lactic acid onset.

  • Enhanced buffering of lactic acid (via bicarbonate derived from CO2)

  • Reduced heart and breathing rates.

  • Increased relaxation.

  • Greater access to ‘alpha’ or ‘zone’ states.

  • Greater postural stability and potential injury prevention via diaphragm and deep system stabilization.

The Bohr Effect states that the lower the partial pressure of CO2 in arterial blood, the tighter the bond between haemoglobin and oxygen (and subsequently less O2 is released to cells).
As a result of less O2 delivery, cells produce less energy. And, during exercise, lactic acid is produced  more plentifully and quickly.

In addition, CO2 is necessary for the production of bicarbonate ions which buffer the affect of lactic acid on blood pH. If CO2 levels are low this does not occur as effectively. Arterial CO2 levels are lowered as a consequence of over breathing or mouth breathing. Our respiratory system is designed for us to breathe primarily through our noses. Mouth breathing is far less efficient in that requires more energy, and higher breathing and heart rates to deliver sufficient oxygen to cells. Mouth breathing serves as an emergency mechanism to acute stress or if our nose becomes blocked. It is not designed to be our principal method of respiration.

Learned behaviors (as a response to stressors) and a lack of understanding have led us to mouth breathe (or over breathe) not only during exercise, but also in most of our day to day functioning. Consequently, our bodies become used to lower levels of arterial CO2 and we develop a breathing pattern that is elevated in rate and volume, and uses mostly our chest and shoulders rather than our diaphragm (meaning that we do not necessarily fill our whole lungs).
The result of this ‘over breathing’ pattern is that our cells receive a reduced level of O2 from our breathing and arterial blood and our body creates a range of adaptive mechanisms designed to reduce CO2 loss (and resultant reduced arterial CO2) that may include smooth muscle constriction or spasm, apnoea or excessive mucous production.
In addition, over breathing creates or exacerbates an imbalance in our autonomic nervous system, specifically between our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Over breathing (or mouth breathing) leads us to be sympathetic nervous system dominant or perpetually in fight or flight mode rather than being able to draw on either this or a more relaxed mode of functioning (via the parasympathetic nervous system) as desired during exercise. If not balanced or moderated over time, this sympathetic nervous system dominance or ‘fight or flight’ mode of functioning can become extremely debilitating to our bodies.

The balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems during exercise will allow us to attain ‘zone’ like or ‘alpha’ even at high level exertion, such as in competition. This ‘zone’ or ‘alpha’ state allows us to be super relaxed and quietens our mental chatter during exercise or performance.

The objectives of Breathing Dynamics for sports performance training include:

  1. Nose breathing at all times.

  2. Building tolerance to hypercapnia (elevated CO2 )

  3. Developing diaphragmatic strength

  4. Creating a breathing rhythm with reduced breathing rate and volume

The exercises take time to learn, but you will learn to exercise whilst breathing using nose only, driving breathing using the diaphragm and with lower heart rates and breathing rates at most levels of exercise intensity.

I coach athletes to nose and diaphragm breathe whilst performing their sport or during recovery phases either one on one, or in groups. Contact me to set up a time to make a difference in your performance.