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Nose breathing: pros and cons

Have you ever thought about the way you breathe while exercising?

Most of us don't really pay attention to it, but it turns out that the way we breathe can have a huge impact on our workout performance.

In particular, breathing through your nose has been shown to have a number of benefits.

In this post, we'll explore why it's important to breathe through your nose while exercising, as well as some tips and tricks for making it a habit.

It filters the air you breath

Your nose is designed to filter the air you breathe, removing any pollutants or irritants before they reach your lungs. This can be particularly important if you're exercising outdoors, where the air may be more polluted than indoors. By breathing through your nose, you can help protect your lungs from harmful particles.

Man breathing fresh air outdoors
Man nose breathing

It warms and humidifies the air

When you breathe through your nose, the air is warmed and humidified before it reaches your lungs. This can be especially helpful if you're exercising in cold or dry conditions, as it helps prevent irritation and dryness in your airways.

It promotes better breathing mechanics

Breathing through your nose can also help promote better breathing mechanics. When you breathe through your nose, you naturally engage your diaphragm more, which is the primary muscle responsible for breathing. This can help improve the efficiency of your breathing and increase the amount of oxygen you're able to take in.

Woman breathing fresh air outdoors
Woman nose breathing

Practice nasal breathing during low-intensity workouts

If you're not used to breathing through your nose during exercise, it can be helpful to start with low-intensity workouts, such as yoga or walking. Focus on breathing through your nose during these exercises, and gradually work your way up to more intense workouts.

Man running at low intensity on the beach
Low intensity run

Use nasal strips

If you're having trouble breathing through your nose, you may want to consider using nasal strips. These are adhesive strips that you place on the outside of your nose, which can help open up your nasal passages and make it easier to breathe.

Practice mindful breathing

Mindful breathing can be a helpful tool for improving your breathing mechanics and making it easier to breathe through your nose. Try focusing on taking slow, deep breaths through your nose, and exhaling slowly through your mouth. You can also try counting your breaths or focusing on the sensation of the air moving in and out of your nose.

Mindful breathing practiced by a man
Mindful breathing

It may be challenging during high-intensity workouts

If you're doing a high-intensity workout, such as sprinting or weightlifting, you may find it difficult to breathe through your nose. In these cases, it's okay to breathe through your mouth if necessary.

It may not work for everyone

While breathing through your nose can be beneficial for many people, it may not work for everyone. Some people may have underlying nasal conditions that make it difficult to breathe through their nose, or they may simply prefer breathing through their mouth. If you're having trouble breathing through your nose, talk to your doctor or a respiratory therapist for guidance.


Breathing through your nose can have a number of benefits when it comes to exercise, from filtering the air you breathe to promoting better breathing mechanics. While it may take some practice to make it a habit, incorporating nasal breathing into your workout routine can be a simple yet effective way to improve your overall performance and well-being.

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