Winning by a Nose

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
winner too.

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
psychological reasons?

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
mouth breathing.

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
your nose.

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
of control.

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


14 Responses to “Winning by a Nose”

  1. Michael D Walker Says:

    Wow, I had no idea that if you don’t breathe through your nose you aren’t inflating the lower lobe of your lungs.

    The Success Secrets

  2. Jennifer Battaglino Says:

    I knew it wasn’t good to breathe through your mouth but boy was it worse than i thought! great post

    let me know if you’d let me post it at my site! 🙂
    jen b
    Natural Remedies for Anxiety

  3. Dennis Perry Says:

    Mouth breathing also dries out the mucous membranes of the oral cavity which increases the risk and rate of dental caries and gingivitis. Another good reason to breathe through your nose.

    Create and Live the Life of Your Dreams

  4. Dating After 40 Expert Says:

    Hi Karen,

    What wonderful information about the benefit of breathing consciously through our nose versus via our mouth. I hadn’t know of the benefit difference before now. Thanks!

    Happy Dating and Relationships,

    April Braswell
    Dating After 40 Expert

  5. Eva Palmer Says:

    I had no idea that breathing through the nose was connected to the parasympathetic nervous system! Good to know!

  6. Alam Ghafoor Says:

    After reading this post I shall endeavour to make sure I breath through the nose only.

  7. Dr. Wendy Schauer, D.C., R.K.C. Says:

    I am usually so congested that I can’t breathe out of my nose. This has motivated me to try to get the congestion under control.
    Yours In Health!

    Dr. Wendy M. Schauer, D.C., R.K.C.
    Come Experience The Power of the Russian KettleBell Revolution at Kettlebell Olympia – Home of A Better Body With Bells!

  8. Eileen O'Neill Says:

    Thanks Karen, for a very informative post! I had no idea of the difference between nose and mouth breathing – and what Dennis Perry added about the damage mouth breathing does to the teeth and gums – well, it can’t help but convince anyone of the importance – no, the necessity of breathing through one’s nose!

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  9. bet365 Says:

    how are you!This was a really exceptional blog!
    I come from endland, I was luck to discover your website in wordpress
    Also I learn a lot in your subject really thanks very much i will come daily

  10. Scott Sylvan Bell Says:

    Thanks fro reminding me to breathe though my nose instead of the shallow beathing through my mouth.
    Scott Sylvan Bell

  11. Sabrina Peterson Says:

    I had no idea about all those dfferences between nose breathing and mouth breathing. I’m all for inflating all of my lungs! I feel like I really need to pay attention to my nose breathing.

    Sabrina Peterson, NASM CPT, CES
    Corrective Exercise for Every Body

  12. Steve Chambers Says:

    While I was aware of the increased filtration the nose provided I never knew nose breathing was so beneficial in other ways. Thanks.


  13. Bryan Says:

    When I exercise I always breath through my mouth…it is hard to remember….

    Sales Success Expert

  14. G.E. Moon II Says:

    Thank you for getting me to think more about “winning by a nose”. I am very fortunate that I am a nose breather and a belly breather. Thank you for all of the great tips.

    Yours In Health!

    G.E. Moon II

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