Inherited Breathing for Performance (Nature)


Recently I had an eye-opening, well really a nose-opening, experience.

For years I’ve practiced nasal breathing, even during exercise. However, I never tried any devices to make it easier until recently.

Before recommending a product to a client I order a Turbine for myself to review it. I wasn’t expecting much from the device that aims to open up the nostrils for more airflow.

However, when first using it the device completely surprised me. I immediately felt like I could breathe twice as much air! It was a little overwhelming. In fact, I got slightly dizzy from breathing in so much more air than normal.

As I acclimated to the feeling I became curious about how ridiculous I looked with this thing up my nose. When I looked in the mirror what jumped out was how much wider my nose looked.

That’s when the real light bulb moment happened. 💡 The thought that jumped into my head? “THIS ISN’T FAIR!”

If other athletes can breathe this much air all the time through their noses reaching their fitness level seemed unachievable. This became even clearer as I wore the Turbine while exercising. Wearing the Turbine improved my rowing pace by a full 10 seconds for 500 meters.

A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words

Take a look at the above image. The most obvious takeaway from the picture is that while running the hardest of all track events, the 400m, Sanya Richards-Ross completed the final stretch with her mouth closed. Now compare the width of her nose to her competitors’. She likely moved much more air through her nasal cavities than the other runners. This allowed her to ventilate well even with her mouth closed. The runners’ faces also express the cascading effects of nasal breathing.

Do you see their facial expressions? Who looks calm and who doesn’t? Ross’ eyes are open and she seems focused, determined, and calm. The other girls have their eyes closed while clearly struggling to push through pain tolerances.

I know this is just one photo, but it portrays the deep connection between the focus and relaxing effect of nasal breathing even while pushing your limits. The genetic attribute of wide open nasal airways provides the benefit of calm nasal breathing even at high exertion.

So maybe we aren’t all born with large, wide, open noses but can we do anything to help? Absolutely. In fact, many of us would have wider noses and be able to breathe more air volume if only we had known how to breathe as kids. Stay tuned for what you can do to make nasal breathing easier. More importantly, learn how you can help the next generation breathe easier for their entire lives.

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