Some info for you to inhale!

If I had only known….


We can breathe 2 to 3 times more air than we need without even knowing it. Do you breathe through your mouth?

Breathing through your mouth is contributing to what is called chronic over-breathing. Have you ever thought there could be a connection to mouth breathing and anxiety, snoring, asthma, insomnia, and obesity?

I have been promoting breath for a while but never like this. A valued client asked me if I had this book and then when I said no I received a copy from him the next week!

Although I feel I’ve been ahead of the curve on breathing and its importance to core stability and movement mechanics this book has brought to my attention that some pieces were missing. I feel like a few more dots have connected with me from reading the book in the road-map to our fitness results. I’m excited to share this with you.


Have you considered how you breathe?

Through your mouth or nose, deep or shallow, belly or cylinder, lots of volume or not? Could you be over breathing? Do you yawn or sigh a lot?

As our evolutionary environment continues to challenge our posture (Computers, smart phones, sitting, and standing) making the combination of poor breathing mechanics and forward head posture almost certain to impact your health. If this isn’t enough let’s just add the word STRESS to this mixture and see if we can all cope without feeling our elevated heart rates, blood pressure, and breathing rates go through the roof!

“How you breathe as a child determines how you look for the rest of your life.” Author of The Oxygen Advantage and TedX – Galway presenter Patrick McKeown. So from an early age it seems that about 50% of children become mouth breathers. He states “All mouth breathers develop crooked teeth.” They also have different shaped jaws and heads. Thinking about how many of our youth require braces for correcting alignment makes me cringe. One of my sons had braces for 4 years!

This information including the benefits of nasal breathing are starting to gain a lot of traction. I predict you will hear a lot more about it as the results will speak for themselves. As we apply and introduce nasal breathing (and The Oxygen Advantage principles) to ourselves, our family, and clients it will undoubtedly improve their health. The implications for some will be profound.

What we have been taught about breathing to date has been misleading in some ways. If you have had breath coaching then I ask,  “Have taken the time to consciously apply the principles?”  It seems we are really interested in this topic. It’s a little boring for you to think about for very long isn’t it? Not the magic answer you were expecting to hear? Dr. Craig Liebenson told me at his course on developing a strong back and athletic development, “If your clients aren’t breathing right – then don’t progress them.” Knowing what correct breathing is and doing it are two different things though!

Some of the age old advice we have been lead to believe will help up us actually may be rooted in the health problems we are currently experiencing.

Have you ever taken a deep breath to control stress?

“Take deep breaths to calm down” for example is a common one. McKeown point out that we need to breathe less when we are stressed not more – think volume of air to understand this.

Another example is when we are gassed for air through exertion/asthma attack we keep a big open mouth and gasp for more air hoping that it will somehow get more oxygen to a place in our body that needs it to recover/survive.

Do you wake up with a dry mouth? Do you snore or think you have sleep apnea? Do you wake up tired?

Taking in more air, breathing out more carbon dioxide, huff and puff through our mouth (over breathing rate and volume) with air that has not had the benefits that your nose has to offer. I had never really thought of the nose in this way because I didn’t have the knowledge but here you go.

The O2 needs to be delivered from the blood to the cells

If we breathe too hard we blow off too much Co2. When it’s normal and light it ensures adequate O2 into lungs and blood. It’s the balance of this that affects our PH and it’s the level of Co2 that triggers us to breathe. McKeown suggests we have become intolerant to high Co2 levels and a lot of his exercises involve breath holds of various durations as well as nasal breathing.



Benefits of breathing through the nose:

  • Nose breathing gets 5-15% more oxygen update than mouth breathers
  • Nasal breathing warms and humidifies incoming air.
  • Nasal breathing removes a significant number of bacteria and germs from the air you breathe in.
  • The nose is a reservoir for Nitric oxide. This gas is released from the paranasal sinuses and is essential for good health. It sterilizes the incoming air, opens airways (natural bronchodilator) and enhances oxygen uptake in the blood among other things.
  • Nasal breathing during exercise allows you to keep your work intensity great enough to produce an aerobic training effect based on hearth rate and Vo2 max studies.

Do you have allergies, asthma, or exercise induced asthma?

Mouth breathing? There is science to back this up. Asthma currently has 16 clinical trials going on that are showing good results. (Links in the references section.)

Have you noticed your attention span isn’t what it used to be?

Our attention span is reducing – stress and anxiety is the inability to turn off thought. We had an average of 8 seconds 2012! That’s not a lot. Slow down your breath and your mind will follow.

Do you drink enough water and yet seem to be dehydrated?

Adults breathe more than 14,000 liters of air per day, requiring more than 680 grams of water, approximately 20% of our daily water intake.

Do you or someone you know have sleep disorders like snoring and sleep apnea?

Do they breathe through their mouth?

Do you want to perform better in sport?

Does a healthy cardiovascular system appeal to you? Some of the breathing exercise can match the benefits of high altitude training.

Recovering from injury or surgery?

Don’t worry as a lot of the exercises can be done while lying of sitting.


How should we be breathing?

“Soft, light, nasal, and diaphragmatic,” states McKeown. Is it really that easy?

My 2 big takeaways from The Oxygen Advantage are:

#1 The volume of air we breathe is too large.

#2 Breathing through the nose has many more benefits than breathing through the mouth.

And #1 can be controlled by #2 – So just breathe through your nose to get started.

We need to breath less not more so make the nose is the first step. The awareness is not out there – we need a shift in awareness about the importance of this. How you breathe during the day translates into how you breathe in exercise and sleep. So start with some conscious awareness.

I hope you can see how I feel I have connected some dots with this information. The answers to a lot of these questions lead to the same result. Take notice of how much you are breathing through your nose. Try to breathe through your nose more. There is a discomfort period initially if it’s new to you. Stick with it and see how over time it becomes easier.

 Your nose is not just two holes in your face anymore. Start using it differently today!

You can and you should!

Written by: Sheila Hamilton September 2017

Listen to Sheila discuss this topic with Drex on the Jon McComb show CKNW 980 am. Listen live every thursday at 9:05 am. Download the radioplayer app so you can listen on your phone!


Copyright: <a href=’’>oligliya / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

The Oxygen Advantage: Patrick McKeown Copyright 2015

Breathing pattern and head posture: changes in craniocervical angles.

Our study confirms that the oral breathing modifies head position. The significant increase of the craniocervical angles NSL/OPT and NSL/CVT in patients with this altered breathing pattern suggests an elevation of the head and a greater extension of the head compared with the cervical spine.
Minerva Stomatol. 2015 Apr; 64(2):59-74

Download for all the Science behind this topic:


The Nasal Cavity