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29 Sep 2019

More about breathing


By Margaret Kraeling, PT

I thought I would add a follow up to Laurie’s last blog on breathing as well as offer a brief exercise program that not only works on breath control but has a huge impact on overall health.

First – a few things that we already know –

- Close to 80% of the population breathes incorrectly ie: mouth and upper chest breathing.

- Your nose is the only organ that can properly prepare the air you breath in.

- Mouth breathing elevates the blood pressure and heart rate, worsens asthma, allergies, rhinitis and sleep apnea.

- Overbreathing and mouth breathing during exercise reduces performance and can raise the risk of arrythmias and heart problems.

- As Laurie mentioned the Buteyko method can restore normal breathing patterns.

Your upper airways are designed to pretreat the air as it enters your body. One of the functions of the nose and sinus mucous membranes is to create (NO) nitrous oxide. NO is a potent vasodilator and bronchodilator so it will help to lower your blood pressure and in will increase the lungs capacity to absorb oxygen. NO also kills bacteria and viruses so it can help you from getting sick!

When we look at the paediatric dentistry field we see that mouth breathing plays a critical role in exercise induced asthma and as well we see children develop longer faces, altered jaw structure, crooked teeth, poor concentration, poor sports performance. We also see a relationship to ADHD. Quite a wide range of potential impact just from incorrect breathing. Now further to the Buteyko breathing technique there is a very short exercise routine that can significantly improve breath control and have many health benefits.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) may seem very intense but this short exercise routine can be performed by most people. These types of exercise are beneficial due to the potential effects on your mitochondria which can have appositive effect on skeletal muscle, fat tissue, liver, brain and kidneys. That’s a pretty high benefit for four minutes of exercise.

The aim is to perform this routine with mouth closed and breathing through the nose. Start with 10 reps of each exercise at a comfortable pace. Ultimately aim for 20 reps of each exercise at a good clip. And also aim for four sets of these four exercises. It is definitely attainable. Put on some music, have fun and enjoy the benefits.