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Old 09-01-05, 09:47 AM   #1
bluejack
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Are you a mouth breather?

When riding, I often am.

I do yoga and meditation, and understand that breathing through the mouth has all kinds of negative effects. It also looks bad. (I try to obscure the fact that I'm breathing through my mouth by only taking gulps of air when I need to, and holding my mouth nearly closed -- whenever I see a slackjawed cyclist gasping up a hill, I think of the cyclist in Triplets of Bellville.)

But I simply can't get enough air through my nose when cranking. Flaring my nostrils as wide as possible helps, but not enough. My nasal passages aren't obstructed, they simply don't admit enough air.

Anyone have any thoughts / observations / etc?

(PS. "mouth breather" is also colloquial for "a stupid person; a moron, dolt, imbecile.")
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Old 09-01-05, 09:53 AM   #2
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Yes. to the point where I wear a bandana, bandito-style, on the river trail where the bugs are thick.

Go look at some pics of Lance riding, if you feel bad about it. His is always open.
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Old 09-01-05, 09:58 AM   #3
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I've tried nose breathing and I just suffocate, even when I focus on full deep breaths. I can hold my own with the big boys on rides, so I don't worry about it.
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Old 09-01-05, 10:16 AM   #4
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Allergies + deviated septum ==> usually some mouth breathing.
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Old 09-01-05, 10:19 AM   #5
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Uhhhhhh?
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Old 09-01-05, 10:30 AM   #6
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Uhhhhhh?
My thoughts exactly.
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Old 09-01-05, 10:31 AM   #7
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Try breathing nose only in the winter when it's bone dry and 0 degrees F outside, freeze your nose. Heh.
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Old 09-01-05, 10:40 AM   #8
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I have a polyp in my nasal cavity that gets aggravated by pollen, etc and causes partial air blockage in my sinuses, so I have to breathe through my mouth while riding.
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Old 09-01-05, 10:44 AM   #9
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Bad manners huh...



Tut tut tut...
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Old 09-01-05, 11:13 AM   #10
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Yeah...deviated septum, and I'm an ex-hockey player. And by that, I mean my nose has been broken about 5 times. I have about 30% capacity through my nose on a good day. I'll get it fixed one of these days...
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Old 09-01-05, 11:17 AM   #11
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Yup... I breathe through my mouth all the time on the bike. I breathe through my mouth and drag my knuckles when off the bike.
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Old 09-01-05, 11:21 AM   #12
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Yoga and meditation aren't nearly as aerobic as cycling and running. I think that listening to your body when it tells you it needs oxygen is "good", trying to breathe through the nose based on out-of-context rules of a spiritual tradition is "bad." I do both yoga and meditation, and I run and cycle, but I don't get the rules for one mixed up with the demands of another. Just breathe, baby.
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Old 09-01-05, 11:58 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by krispistoferson
Yoga and meditation aren't nearly as aerobic as cycling and running.
Word. If you can keep going at near AT pace just breathing through your nose, you must have some BIG-a$$ nostrils. Evolution has allowed us to breathe through our mouth, and sometimes it is necessary, even helpful.

But not while out to dinner with in-laws.
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Old 09-01-05, 12:25 PM   #14
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Do it everyday on the way in. I guess my biggest faux pas would be lighting up that cigarette at mile 12.
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Old 09-01-05, 01:21 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluejack
(PS. "mouth breather" is also colloquial for "a stupid person; a moron, dolt, imbecile.")
I think that negative connotation just applies to people who do it when NOT exerting themselves. It's basically simian behavior which is where I'm sure the term originated.

When I'm riding at the brink of my anaerobic threshold, I'm going to be doing some mouth breathing. That's just the way it is.
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Old 09-01-05, 01:26 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjkresse
Yup... I breathe through my mouth all the time on the bike. I breathe through my mouth and drag my knuckles when off the bike.
You beat me to it.
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Old 09-01-05, 01:30 PM   #17
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Well, I've got to say that I can't be bothered trying to look dainty and ladylike while I am riding, and if I need to huff and puff, then so be it. If my mouth get dry from my having to breathe through it, then why else do I carry water?

I'm asthmatic on top of being a bike nut. Some days, it is all I can do to get to work and remain upright. I'd probably pass straight out if I tried to force myself to breathe through my nose on a day when my allergies are pushing toward an asthmatic reaction.

When I was in cross-country and track, Coach used to get on my tail about breathing in through my nose, out through my mouth, but frankly, it cost me too much thought and bother to do it that way. If I was really pouring on the power, my nose was of no good use to me, end of chat.
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Old 09-01-05, 01:46 PM   #18
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I breath through my mouth and make breath noises as I smoke past those concerned with their 'looks' on the hills; only time I actually close my mouth is moments after the bug enters and I need to chew for a second.
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Old 09-01-05, 02:10 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluejack
It also looks bad.
You have GOT to be kidding me. After a long hard bike ride I stink, my jersey is white with salt, there's white drool gunk on my chin and top tube, and snot on my gloves and side of my face.

But we don't open our mouths to suck in oxygen while huffing and puffing at 20+ mph because it "looks bad."

If you don't want to be a mouth breather, just slow down. If you go fast, you must breath through the mouth. If you're a mouth breather in spite of slow riding, get a perm and a "Vote for Pedro" t-shirt.
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Old 09-01-05, 04:18 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluejack
When riding, I often am.

I do yoga and meditation, and understand that breathing through the mouth has all kinds of negative effects. It also looks bad. (I try to obscure the fact that I'm breathing through my mouth by only taking gulps of air when I need to, and holding my mouth nearly closed -- whenever I see a slackjawed cyclist gasping up a hill, I think of the cyclist in Triplets of Bellville.)

But I simply can't get enough air through my nose when cranking. Flaring my nostrils as wide as possible helps, but not enough. My nasal passages aren't obstructed, they simply don't admit enough air.

Anyone have any thoughts / observations / etc?

(PS. "mouth breather" is also colloquial for "a stupid person; a moron, dolt, imbecile.")

First of all, love the PS part. Lol! Second of all, I use a combination breating. I generally inhale through my nose and exhale out my mouth. I have a hilly hilly commute and I have found this works for me. Plus you don't have to worry about sucking in any bugs.
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Old 09-01-05, 04:44 PM   #21
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Catching bugs... try a protein bar?
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Old 09-01-05, 05:32 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluejack
I do yoga and meditation, and understand that breathing through the mouth has all kinds of negative effects. It also looks bad. (I try to obscure the fact that I'm breathing through my mouth by only taking gulps of air when I need to, and holding my mouth nearly closed)
Do you try to hide the fact that you are sweating as well?

Who cares what other people think...if mouth breathing is the only way you can get enough air to sustain your pace, then do it.
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Old 09-01-05, 06:45 PM   #23
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Got hit by a Bumblebee on my lip this weekend. My lip looked as if I was in a bar fight. I shudder at the thought if I had my mouth as open as Lance.
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Old 09-01-05, 07:32 PM   #24
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I've consumed several bugs lately. Instead of shutting my mouth, I tilt my head down so as to minimize the strike zone.
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Old 09-01-05, 07:34 PM   #25
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Wow! Thanks for all the replies. I'm in good company.

And I love rjkresse's response!

About the yoga/meditation thing: it's not a spiritual tradition (for me) it's a health thing, and there are health reasons why nose breathing is better than mouth breathing. I simply wasn't sure whether I was missing some advanced cycling technique. But it sounds like when you need air you need air and the mouth is the best way to get it fast.

As for looking bad, perhaps I should have said: "stupid." I don't ride with packs of roadies much, so I haven't had occasion to observe their technique. Haven't even watched the tour de france. (I like to ride my bike, not watch the activity on tv.) I sort of pictured myself riding around like, you know, a dolt, imbecile, or moron when in fact there was some trick to getting the air right. Doesn't sound like it, I won't fret about it. (I'll go fret about something else now.)
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