I don’t remember exactly why I started looking up freediving, possibly an interesting picture of a person free diving with sharks or whales that probably caught my attention. This then leads me down a road of breath-holding competitions and as usual Google digs up even more interesting things about breath-holding and how it could benefit my everyday life. This then leads me to buy, The Oxygen Advantage: The Simple, Scientifically Proven Breathing Techniques for a Healthier, Slimmer, Faster, and Fitter You by Patrick McKeown, and have been enthralled by the benefits of just holding one’s breath as an exercise.
Noses are for breathing and mouth is for eating. In the book, McKeown talks about people that breathe through their mouths and how it negatively affects their teeth and their brains. He tells of how mouth breathing changes the level of pH of your blood and how a swing in up or down on that pH scale is bad for our health. He makes some interesting anecdotal observations of how he has increased his level of restful sleep by using tape seal his mouth while sleeping.
Since I’m a fitness nut, I quickly gear my attention towards sports performance and how breath-holding could improve my athletic abilities, and I’ve noticed that some of the top runners don’t breathe through their mouths when running, or should I say breathing uncontrollably out through their mouth. McKeown gives some pointers for athletes who want to perform better at their sport.
LONG STORY SHORT
To save you a bit of money, and a long read. The top tip that McKeown gives is to breathe with your nose. Start off as easily as you can, such as a light jog. Breathing lightly through your nose, and exhaling through your nose. He recommends taping your mouth shut if you find it difficult to control your mouth. After about a month of doing some of his exercises, I have dramatically changed how I breathe during my runs. My run pace at about 8:30/mile is relaxed and easy as I breathe only through my nose, but as I pick up the pace, I have to fight the urge to mouth breath.
I would recommend anyone with breathing problems try some of these techniques.
I highly recommend watching his TED talk: