Tweaking the oft overlooked action of proper breathing is another quick easy biohack. We touched on some of the benefits of proper, diaphragmatic, abdominal breathing in the past:

and here we will take it one step further and make more of a case (if the above discussion was not enough) for breathing through your nose, even when training.

When performing any physical activity we would all be well served to possess the ability to utilize the oxygen we breathe in the most efficient manner. Subsequently, we would also greatly benefit from that oxygen being delivered to our muscles with speed and volume.

When we breathe through our nose it triggers the release of Nitric Oxide (NO) in our bodies. This NO cause bronchodilation, meaning it opens or expands the passage ways in your lungs, allowing more oxygen to reach the blood. Bronchodilation is such a useful biohack that many competitive athletes utilize an inhaler normally reserved for asthmatics in order to exogenously prompt and increase this phenomenon. Conversely, many asthmatics have found benefit and attenuation of symptoms by training themselves to nose breathe, despite the fact that on the surface it appears to be counterintuitive if you are having trouble breathing.

NO production prompted by nasal respiration also triggers vasodilation. This is an expansion of the blood vessels to your tissues, especially those muscles being utilized during physical activity. This is good news as it provides more oxygen rich blood that the muscles can use as fuel for energy via aerobic respiration, as well as another mechanism for holistically tackling that hypertension aka high blood pressure.

Nasal breathing will also create a tolerance to the build-up of CO2 in the blood. (You may have seen some athletes training with what looks like a gas mask. These are oxygen deprivation masks that are designed to create a build-up of CO2 in the blood, and the positive physiological adaptations that follow as far as red blood cell volume and oxygen utilization.) This tolerance to CO2, can lead to more stamina and decreased occurrences of fatigue during those all-out efforts

This CO2 is necessary for the hemoglobin molecule that carries the oxygen to our tissues, to be willing to unload and part ways with the oxygen so that the tissues may utilize it for function and increased demand. (In other words, it increases the body’s capacity to deliver and utilize oxygen; sounds similar to increasing the heralded VO2 max to me.) In the absence of necessary CO2 levels, the hemoglobin is actually less willing to release the oxygen to the tissues that need it.

Nasal breathing throughout the day will also lessen the likelihood of over breathing, which can disrupt the intricate balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your body (details on the discussion above).


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