Nasal Breathing vs. Mouth Breathing: Which is Better for Health?

Nasal Breathing vs. Mouth Breathing - Woman in nature taking a deep breath of fresh air.

Nasal Breathing vs. Mouth Breathing: Which is Better for Health?

By Dominic Pereira

Breathing is something we do involuntarily, yet the way we breathe can have a significant impact on our health and well-being. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between nasal breathing and mouth breathing and delve into which one might be better for overall health.

The Importance of Breathing

Before delving into the distinctions between nasal and mouth breathing, it’s crucial to understand the profound significance of proper breathing. Beyond merely supplying oxygen to our bodies, it plays a pivotal role in regulating essential bodily functions like heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels. Consequently, our breathing patterns can wield considerable influence over our physical health, mental well-being, and emotional equilibrium.

Nasal Breathing

Nasal breathing involves inhaling and exhaling through the nose. It’s the body’s preferred method of breathing and offers many advantages:

Air Filtration

The nose acts as a natural filter, trapping dust, allergens, and other particles, preventing them from entering the respiratory system. This helps reduce the risk of respiratory infections and allergies.

Humidification

Nasal passages moisturize and warm the air before it reaches the lungs, preventing dryness and irritation of the respiratory tract.

Nitric Oxide Production

The nasal passages produce nitric oxide, a compound that dilates blood vessels and enhances oxygen uptake in the lungs. This can improve lung function and overall cardiovascular health.

Regulation of Breathing

Nasal breathing promotes diaphragmatic breathing, where the diaphragm contracts and expands fully with each breath. This type of breathing is more efficient and helps engage the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation and reducing stress.

How is Nasal Breathing Beneficial During Exercise or General Movement?

During exercise, when oxygen demand is higher, efficient breathing can help sustain energy levels and prevent early fatigue.

Diaphragmatic breathing also engages the diaphragm muscle more effectively than shallow chest breathing. This not only improves the efficiency of gas exchange in the lungs but also strengthens the diaphragm itself. A stronger diaphragm can enhance respiratory function overall, making it easier to breathe during intense physical activity.

Photo credit: Holistic Health Physio

Mouth Breathing

Mouth breathing involves inhaling and exhaling through the mouth. While sometimes necessary, such as during strenuous exercise or when the nasal passages are blocked, chronic mouth breathing can have negative consequences:

Reduced Air Quality

Breathing through the mouth bypasses the nose’s filtration system, allowing pollutants and pathogens to enter the respiratory system more easily, increasing the risk of respiratory infections and allergies.

Dry Mouth and Throat

Mouth breathing can lead to dryness of the mouth and throat, which may cause bad breath, sore throat, and dental issues such as cavities and gum disease.

Poor Posture

Chronic mouth breathing can alter facial and dental development, leading to malocclusion (misalignment of the teeth) and changes in facial structure.

Photo credit: Seed to Sprout

Increased Stress Response

Mouth breathing is associated with shallow breathing, which can activate the sympathetic nervous system, leading to increased stress levels and anxiety.

What are some benefits of mouth breathing during exercise?

  • Increased airflow: Mouth breathing allows for larger volumes of air to enter the lungs compared to breathing through your nose. This can be beneficial during intense exercise, like HIIT, when the body requires higher amounts of oxygen.
  • Cooling effect: Breathing through your mouth can help dissipate heat more effectively during strenuous workouts or in hot environments. The larger airway of the mouth allows for faster exchange of heat, helping to regulate body temperature.
  • Easier breathing during high-intensity exercise: Mouth breathing can be more comfortable during high-intensity exercise. It allows for quicker inhalation and exhalation, which can help maintain pace and intensity.

Which is Better for Health?

Nasal breathing is generally considered superior to mouth breathing for overall health and well-being. However, there are situations where mouth breathing may be necessary, such as during intense physical activity or when the nasal passages are blocked due to congestion or allergies. 

If you choose to stick with nasal breathing, consider the following tips:

Maintain Nasal Hygiene

Keep the nasal passages clear by using saline nasal sprays, practicing nasal irrigation, and avoiding irritants such as cigarette smoke and air pollutants, whenever possible.

Practice Mindful Breathing

Incorporate deep, diaphragmatic breathing techniques into your daily routine to enhance lung function and reduce stress.

Address Underlying Issues

If you frequently experience nasal congestion or other respiratory issues, consult a healthcare professional to address any underlying conditions such as allergies or sinusitis.

Seek Treatment

If mouth breathing is chronic or accompanied by symptoms such as snoring or sleep apnea, seek evaluation and treatment from a healthcare provider, as it may indicate an underlying respiratory or sleep disorder.

Nasal Breathing vs. Mouth Breathing:
The Winner

In the debate between nasal breathing and mouth breathing, nasal breathing emerges as the clear winner for promoting overall health and well-being. By keeping the nasal passages clear, practicing mindful breathing techniques, and addressing any underlying issues, individuals can optimize their breathing patterns and reap the benefits of nasal breathing for improved physical, mental, and emotional health.

Ultimately, how you breathe during exercise or movement is your choice and depends on what feels comfortable for you.

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Book one of our classes at our Cape Town Studio to get your body moving and optimize your health.

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Mental Health Through Movement

A woman meditating in front of a distant opaque mountain, a white circle around her head connotates peace and mental health.

Mental Health Through Movement

By Dominic Pereira

In today’s fast-paced world, where stress and anxiety are constant companions, taking care of your mental health is more important than ever. While traditional therapies and medications have their place, there are also natural and holistic approaches to enhancing your mental well-being.

One can achieve noticeable results by practicing mindful movement with modalities like Pilates or Fascial Fitness, combined with other regular physical activity.

Let’s jump in and explore the subtle and profound ways these activities can support and improve your mental health.

The Mind-Body Connection

Pilates and various other forms of movement are deeply rooted in the mind-body connection. They emphasize the importance of being present in the moment, connecting with your body, and regulating your breathing. This mindfulness is a powerful tool in managing symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Pilates

A. Strengthening the Core, Soothing the Mind

Mental Health: A woman performing a Pilates routine on a wooden ladder barrel.

Pilates is renowned for its core-strengthening benefits, but its impact on mental health might surprise you. When you engage in Pilates exercises, you work on your physical strength and enhance your mental resilience.

By focusing on controlled movements and deliberate breathing, Pilates helps reduce stress levels. It promotes relaxation and releases tension, significantly benefiting individuals struggling with anxiety disorders. Regular Pilates practice can improve sleep patterns, increase self-confidence, and give you a more positive outlook on life. This is accomplished because it allows you to move from a state of fight and flight (sympathetic nervous system) to one of rest and digest (parasympathetic).

If you’re interested in joining us for Pilates, check out our schedule and book a class.

B. Finding Balance and Serenity

Mental Health: A group of women meditating together in a yoga class.

Similar to Yoga, Pilates combines physical postures, breath control, and breath meditation to create a harmonious balance in the body and mind.

One of the most significant advantages of Pilates for mental health is its ability to alleviate stress. The deep breathing techniques employed help activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for relaxation. These techniques can decrease cortisol, the stress hormone, and increase feel-good hormones like serotonin.

Pilates also encourages self-awareness and self-acceptance. Through regular practice, individuals often experience reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety. The sense of community in classes can also improve mental health by providing a supportive social environment.

Fascial Fitness: The Interconnectivity of Body and Mind

Mental Health: A group of women outdoors participating in a Pilates Class.

Fascial fitness, often overshadowed by more conventional exercise techniques, can be key in unlocking mental well-being. This often-neglected system of connective tissue throughout our bodies profoundly affects our mental health. By incorporating fascial fitness routines, you’re optimizing your physical health and nurturing your mental resilience.

You engage in fluid and dynamic movements through fascial fitness exercises that release tension and stress within the fascial network. This unique approach connects with the body’s inherent intelligence, encouraging relaxation and restoring balance. As a result, the benefits extend to the mind, offering relief for individuals battling anxiety or chronic stress. Consistent fascial fitness practice can lead to a heightened sense of tranquility, improved emotional well-being, and a more harmonious relationship between the body and mind, contributing to overall mental clarity and vitality.

If you’d like to know more about Fascia, check out this article that sheds light on what it is, the different types and more.

Regular Movement: The Power of Daily Activity

While the above are structured practices, daily movement doesn’t have to adhere to any particular form. A simple 10-minute daily routine of brisk walking, stretching, or dancing can make a remarkable difference in your mental well-being.

According to TheHealthHub, non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is responsible for around 70% of your daily calorie requirements or metabolic output.

Even in short bursts, physical activity stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s natural mood lifters. It can enhance cognitive function, boost self-esteem, and alleviate symptoms of depression. Incorporating movement into your daily routine can be a powerful and accessible way to manage your mental health.

Group Classes: The Social Connection

Participating in group classes offers unique advantages for mental health. It allows individuals to connect with like-minded individuals, fostering a sense of belonging and reducing feelings of isolation.

Being part of a group can also provide motivation and accountability. Knowing that you have a class to attend or friends to meet at the studio can encourage consistency in your practice, which is essential for reaping the mental health benefits.

Incorporating Pilates classes and regular movement into your life can be a transformative step toward better mental health. These practices promote mindfulness, reduce stress, and provide opportunities for social interaction. Even dedicating just 10 minutes a day to movement can positively impact your overall well-being.

Remember that the journey to improved mental health is unique for everyone. It’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional if you have specific concerns or conditions. However, by adding Pilates, Fascial Fitness and daily movement to your routine, you can take a proactive and holistic approach to nurturing your mental well-being.

Start today, and you’ll be on your way to a healthier, happier you.

Glossary

Find Some Balance with moveOn 89

Begin Your Journey to Mental Well-Being with moveOn89, where we offer classes in Pilates, Fascial Fitness, and HIIT Training. Find the right class for you and start realizing the healing power of physical movement for mental health. Book your class today.

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Keep Your Fascia Healthy: Tips and Techniques for Optimal Function

Three Fascial Fitness students in the studio doing stretches while lying face-up on their mats. Fascia Healthy

Keep Your Fascia Healthy: Tips and Techniques for Optimal Function

By Dominic Pereira

Fascia is a connective tissue surrounding and supporting our body’s muscles, bones, and organs. It is responsible for maintaining structural integrity, providing support, and transmitting force throughout the body.

According to Robert Schleip and Divo Gitta Müller, authors of “Training Principles for Fascial Connective Tissues”:
“Conventional sports training emphasizes adequate training of muscle fibres, of cardiovascular conditioning and/or neuromuscular coordination. Most sports-associated overload injuries however occur within elements of the body-wide fascial net, which are then loaded beyond their prepared capacity.”

Read more about what fascia is.

A healthy fascia is essential for optimal movement, flexibility, and well-being. So here are some tips to help you keep your fascia healthy and happy.

Stay Hydrated

Outdoor close-up of a clear blue water bottle on wooden decking. It is a sunny day. Two blurred-out people are in the background to the left.

Staying hydrated is crucial for maintaining healthy fascia. Our fascia comprises a network of collagen fibres, which require water to stay healthy and strong. When we are dehydrated, our fascia becomes less pliable, making movement more difficult and painful. To keep your fascia healthy, drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Stretch Regularly

Stretching is an excellent way to keep your fascia healthy. It helps to increase blood flow, which brings nutrients and oxygen to the fascia, keeping it healthy and pliable. Incorporate appropriate stretching into your daily routine, and you will notice improved flexibility and range of motion.

Our fascia comprises a network of collagen fibres, which require water to stay healthy and strong. When we are dehydrated, our fascia becomes less pliable.

Breathing

There are many breathing techniques that help to hydrate fascia, release stress and move you into your rest and digest autonomic nervous systemNasal breathing is particularly beneficial. These all contribute to healthy fascia.

Foam Roll

Indoor shot of a woman performing fascial exercises with a foam roller on a light blue background.

Foam rolling is another effective way to keep your fascia healthy. It helps break up fascia adhesions, improving mobility and reducing pain. You can use a foam roller on various parts of your body, including your back, legs, and arms.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

Eating a healthy diet is essential for keeping your fascia healthy. It provides your body with the necessary nutrients to maintain healthy connective tissue. Ensure you incorporate collagen-rich foods like bone broth to support healthy fascia.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is crucial for maintaining healthy fascia. During sleep, our body repairs and regenerates tissue, including the fascia. Aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night to support healthy fascia.

Reduce Stress

Stress can have a significant impact on our fascia. It can cause tension and tightness, leading to pain and discomfort. Incorporate stress-reducing activities into your daily routine, such as meditation or deep breathing, to support healthy fascia.

Stay Active

Regular physical activity is essential for maintaining healthy fascia. It helps to increase blood flow, which provides necessary nutrients to the fascia. Aim to exercise regularly, such as walking, running, or strength training, to support healthy fascia. But most importantly, move often, get up out of your chair, stretch, yawn, walk around.

Life 360 Summit on Fascia & Chronic Pain

In conclusion, maintaining healthy fascia is crucial for optimal movement, flexibility, and overall well-being. By incorporating these 8 tips into your daily routine, you can keep your fascia healthy and functioning correctly.

Glossary

  • Fascia – The connective tissue that surrounds muscles, bones, and organs. Coalition Brewing 

  • Myofascial Release – A hands-on approach to managing pain and discomfort. Cleveland Clinic 

  • Foam Rolling – A form of self-myofascial release that involves rolling the body over a foam roller. Self.com 

  • Trigger Point – A sore spot in soft tissue that cause deep aching. painscience.com 

  • Strength Training – An exercise that increases muscle strength by making muscles work against a weight or force. physio-pedia.com 

Join a Fascial Fitness Class at moveON 89

Join our Fascial Fitness classes at our studio in Gardens, Cape Town, to improve your overall strength, mobility, flexibility and posture. At moveOn 89, we offer a wide range of wellness classes, including Pilates, HIIT, and Fascial Fitness.

To join our classes, simply visit our class schedule to choose a time that works for you and book!

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We use cookies to track visitors, measure ads, ad campaign effectiveness and analyze site traffic. We may also share information about your use of our site with 3rd parties. For more info, see, our Cookies Policy, our Privacy Policy. By clicking “Accept All” you agree to the storing of all cookies on your device. In case you don’t choose one of these options and use our website, we will treat it as if you have accepted all cookies.