Are you a nose or a mouth breather when swimming?
Most of us are mouth breathers as that’s how we have been taught since learning to swim as a child and it’s the easiest way to breathe when swimming.
But did you know there are some benefits to breathing through your nose while swimming, even if it is only every now and then?
Take a look at these five benefits of nose breathing while swimming and see if you can incorporate them into your swimming.
1. Helps to slow the pace of our breathing
Breathing through your nose while swimming slows your breathing down.
The airway in your nose is significantly smaller than the airway through your mouth, creating 50 per cent more resistance with each breath.
With this resistance slowing your breathing down, it will help you to keep relaxed and lower your heart rate.
2. Keeps more heat within the body
Breathing through your nose helps to conserve more heat within the body which is great for ocean swimmers, especially as the water temperature starts to drop.
Not only do you lose more heat when breathing through your mouth but you are also increasing dehydration. This is why when you breathe through your mouth even on land you might notice your mouth gets dry very quickly.
3. Encourages use of your diaphragm
Breathing through your nose encourages the use of your diaphragm muscle, which allows you to breathe more deeply.
Breathing more deeply through your nose helps to open up your chest and allows more oxygen to be sent around the body reaching all your extremities.
Breathing through your nose also helps to prevent stitches which are caused by fast, shallow breathing.
4. Prepares the air better for your airways
Breathing through your nose helps to prepare the inhaled air for your lungs by warming and adding moisture to it.
This is particularly helpful during those colder days, as the warmed air helps to avoid the narrowing and constricting of your airways, which can create that breathlessness feeling we all sometimes get when entering the water for our ocean swim.
5. It helps fight viruses and infections
Breathing through our nose when swimming helps our body to have a natural resistance to infections or viruses that may be around us.
The sinuses in our nose produce nitric oxide gas which contains antiviral and anti-bacterial properties.
We also have mucus and tiny hairs within our nose that help to trap particles which are then sterilised by nitric oxide before travelling through our airways into our lungs.