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  1. #1
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    Breathing- mouth or nose?

    I'm curious- I breath about 95% of the time through my mouth when I'm riding. Never thought much about it, but I've been eating quite a few bugs on my morning rides lately. I've also been getting headaches after some of my harder rides. I started trying to try breathing through my nose, but found it extremely difficult to do so for extended periods of time- it just doesn't feel natural. I know the nose has filtratration, but are there other advantages that any of you know of? Thanks for any advice you can lend!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    I think we actually breath through the mouth and nose. So its really not an either/or proposition. When I place a greater demand on the body, I will naturally breath harder by dropping my jaw and breathing more rapidly. But its really both ways. Runners do the same.

    As we get more aerobically fit, our body becomes more efficient in delivering oxygen into the blood. So maybe the breathing becomes easier as the fitness level goes up.

    Headaches? I'm guessing that it may be in part, a matter of conditioning. Its like when a runner does track workouts and fails to give his body enough rest between intervals. Interval work helps the body to reach a higher threshold for aerobic capacity. I'm guessing your harder rides are pushing your aerobic capacity to the edge and your body is screaming at you.

    You can go on harder rides by yourself or with others. Trouble is with others, they dictate the tempo even though you may not all be in the same conditioning. Somewhere I read that Floyd Landis rides 12,000 miles to prepare for the TdF. Now, that's conditioning. I'm in So Calif and Floyd rides up Mount Palomar really fast and on the mountain bike he rides up Saddleback. I would like to see what he can do on Maui's Haleakala.

  3. #3
    Vein Shucker TakeBack's Avatar
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    The nasopharynx- from the nostrils to the back of your throat- provide both moisturization and heat to the air you inspire, in addition to the filtration by nasal hair and other small hairlike projections (cilia). Colder, drier, unfiltered air can cause spasm of the small airways, limiting maximal air exchange between the atmosphere and the diffusion surface in the lung- the alveoli, where oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange.

    Mouth breathing provides a larger portal for air entry in to the large airways (trachea), makinf the work of breathing during exercise easier.

    When I first started running, I would really focus on breathing in the nose, and out the mouth. I found it helpful b/c it is almost like a mantra, keeping the mind from noticing how far I had left to go!

    The breathing mechanics are better in overall, but it is very difficult when the body's conditioning has not caught up- i.e., the ability to utilize oxygen delivered in the lung.

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    Ride around here during bug season (like this morning) and you will quickly learn all about nose breathing vs mouth breathing!

    But, on the other hand, I have heard that a bug has more protein than an energy bar.

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    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    +1 to all of what TakeBack said. Yoga frowns upon mouth breathing and considers it unhealthy, which is only interesting because that's been the case for at least 1000 years.

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    Thank you all for responding. As I think about this more, it seems like I do most of my breathing by mouth even when not excercising. I'll guess I'm going to start working harder on breathing more through my nose. I guess for me, the saying "it's as easy as breathing" doesn't apply

  7. #7
    Senior Member JavaMan's Avatar
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    Are there any other advantages?

    Yes. When it's hot, breathing through your nose actually help keep your brain cooler. I read a study once that showed why that's important, and may even determine who wins in a rabbit/coyote chase. In our case, breathing through your nose when it's hot could possibly avert heat exhaustion.
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  8. #8
    Geosynchronous Falconeer recursive's Avatar
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    Despite all the supposed benefits, unless I'm taking it very easy, I can't possibly get enough air through my nose.
    Bring the pain.

  9. #9
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    The Bees are nasty around here. I am scared what happens if I were to get one in my mouth.
    One big Bumble Bee hit my mouth and gave me a fat lip.

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    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Either through your nose or mouth, the air ends up going through the same passage before it gets into your lungs.

  11. #11
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    in the nose, out the mouth...at least that's what i've heard. I guess the nose acts like a filter, makes sense i guess.

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