Winning by a nose is a phrase that refers to a really close race or match.
The contestant who wins the race does so by just barely outstretching or outcompeting
their opponent. Figuratively or literally, their nose crosses the finish line first.
Kind of a funny saying. But you can apply it to your breathing and come out a
By now we’ve all heard how important it is to breathe through your nose. This is
important for physical reasons. But did you know it’s also important for
When we breathe through our nose, the hairs that line the nasal passages filter
out particles of dust and dirt that can harm our lungs. If too much dust or dirt gets
in, the membranes of the nose secrete mucus to trap them, or make you sneeze
to get rid of them.
Breathing through the nose also helps to warm and moisten the air before it
gets to your lungs.
Another very important reason for breathing through your nose is that it helps
balance the ratio of carbon dioxide to oxygen in your system.
Breathing through your mouth all the time can lead to a sort of chronic hyperventilation.
This can make any breathing problem or weakness you have even worse. It also
contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease.
Breathing through your nose can have an amazing effect on your psychological
state, especially when exercising.
When you breathe through your mouth, you only inflate the upper two lobes of
the lungs. These lobes are connected to the sympathetic nervous system. This
is the branch that triggers the “fight-or-flight” response.
When you breathe through your nose, you inflate all of the lobes of the lung. And
the lower lobes are connected to the parasympathetic nervous system.
This is the part of the nervous system that calms you down, slows your heart
rate, and helps you relax.
So, nose breathing brings a balance to your system that you simply can’t get with
You may not even realize that you’ve been breathing predominantly through your
mouth. You’ll need to pay attention to your breathing. Just stop what you are
doing at various times during the day and check in on yourself.
If you have the mouth breathing habit, you’ll have to work on breathing only through
An easy way to do this is to keep your mouth closed, but don’t clench your teeth.
Place the tip of your tongue lightly against the back of your top front teeth (touching
the soft palate).
With a little time and effort, you’ll find it becomes more natural to breathe through
your nose. And you should really feel a difference in your breathing and sense
It’s more difficult to stick to nose breathing when exercising. It’s natural to breathe
through your mouth when you’re really exerting yourself. But this should be the
exception rather than the rule.
To help you, try this: keep your exertion to a level that allows you to continue
to breathe through your nose. In other words, if you are running, slow down
or walk anytime you feel like you have to breathe through your mouth.
Believe it or not, over time this practice can actually improve your stamina
and physical performance.
It seems counterintuitive: slow down to get better. If you give it a try, you’ll
see what I mean.
So, whether you win by a nose or win by 10 meters, who cares? You’ve won!
You Can Do It!
P.S. To experience the physical AND psychological benefits of breathing more
deeply, fully and completely, try the incredible exercises in the Secret Power of
Dynamic Energy Exercise Course, Volume 1. After a few minutes with the first
CD, you’ll feel a tremendous difference. Get your copy today!
Copyright Karen Van Ness 2010