Running Benefits: Higher Body O2 Only with Nose Breathing
What are the benefits of running? Running or jogging is the most natural way to increase body-oxygen levels and this is the main benefit of any physical exercise. The increased level of oxygen can be easily measured using the body oxygen test. Better results means better physical health and even elimination of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, asthma, and bronchitis. Indeed, if the body oxygen level remains the same after weeks or months of running, there would be no improvements in symptoms and required medication.
In order to get the most benefits of running, a person needs to have the crucial main requirement for any physical exercise: more oxygen in body cells after exercise. This result is easy to achieve with strictly nasal breathing (in and out) during running. Then your breathing after exercise will be lighter providing more O2 for brain and body cells.
Nasal breathing ensures absorption of nasal NO (nitric oxide) and that immediately lowers the heart rate (for the same intensity of exercise). Additional benefits of running with nose breathing include increased CO2 levels in the blood and slower breathing after exercise, which provides more O2 in body cells. Furthermore, running with nose breathing mimics high-altitude training due to mild hypoxia. You do not need to go to mountains: get more benefits of running due to nose breathing in and out.
Soviet and Russian MDs tested thousands of patients and found that exercise with nasal breathing prevents acute exacerbations due to chronic diseases (no exercise-induced asthma, no heart attacks, no strokes, and so on) and improves oxygen transport due to increased CO2 and NO levels in the lungs and the arterial blood.
|Lifestyle factor:||Body oxygen < 30 s||Body oxygen > 50 s|
|Energy level||Medium, low, or very low||High|
|Desire to exercise||Not strong, but possible||Craving and joy of exercise|
|Intensive exercise with nose breathing||Hard or impossible||Easy and effortless|
|Typical mind states||Confusion, anxiety, depression||Focus, concentration, clarity|
|Craving for coffee, sugar and junk foods||Present||Absent|
|Addictions to smoking, alcohol, and drugs||Possible||Absent|
|Desire to eat raw foods||Weak and rare||Very common and natural|
|Correct posture||Rare and requires efforts||Natural and automatic|
|Sleep||Often of poor quality; > 7 hours||Excellent quality; < 5 hours naturally|
How to get the most running benefits
If you want to experience these benefits of running, but have little or no recent experience in running or jogging, you have to start very slowly. Too often, Buteyko students, after they achieve decent daily CP numbers due to breath work (e.g., up to 30 s or even more), experience failure in their running attempts due to injuries.
Why? Their respiratory and cardiovascular systems are able, at over 30 s CP, to experience positive effects of 1-2 hours of running. Furthermore, after doing breath work, these students have very high energy level and desire to exercise. However, since they did not do running during recent days or weeks, their muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones are not fit yet for such a long and intensive challenge.
Hence, it is crucial to consider the following suggestions, for maximum
running benefits, when you begin jogging:
- Start with walking for up to 30-60 minutes per session for 3-5 days and make a slow transition to power walking or fast walking for another 3-5 days.
- After this initial period, add only 5 min of very light and easy relaxed jogging or running at the end of your power walk (e.g., instead of 30 min power walk, do 25 min of fast walking and then 5 min of very light and relaxed comfortable running with nose breathing only).
- Increase the duration of running by about 2 min per session only so that your ligaments and tendons can readjust themselves to this physical load increase. Hence, the amount of running will increase very gradually: 5 min, 7 min, 9 min, 11 min, and so forth. In about 2-3 weeks you should be able to run for 30 min without any negative effects.
- Always use running shoes with soft sole. (Consider barefoot walking and barefoot running since these are nearly ideal Buteyko exercises.)
- If you later start to have longer running sessions (up to 30 min and more), run on a soft surface (e.g., grass, sand, snow, or gravel), but not on hard surfaces like roads and concrete pathways to avoid injuries.
This approach is similar to Graded Exercise Therapy, which has been used in clinical practice with very limited success due to negative mouth breathing, which cancel main benefits of running for most people.
Keep in mind that for breathing retraining and higher body oxygen levels, it is smart and useful to do some "uncomfortable" or "ascetic" things (like taking cold shower with certain rules, sleeping on hard beds, sleeping in a sitting position, and running when it is windy, raining or snowing), but running with pain in your knees or feet is not a good idea. Graduality is the key to success in getting the most benefits of running.
For advanced students who are interested in getting the most benefits of running, here is an excellent gadget to train with resistance (as at high altitude), but with high body CO2. It is called Training Mask. Here is its review and physiological effects: Training Mask.
Sport and fitness article:
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- Why modern man gets little, if any, benefits from exercise
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