alexander technique hove- running fitness breathing

alexander technique hove- running fitness breathing

As I run along Hove Lawns several times a week I see many fellow runners who habitually breathe through their mouth.

The disadvantages of mouth breathing are:

  • It makes less efficient use of the oxygen you take in
  • It is associated with a poor balance of the head on top of the spine
  • It is associated with, less efficient, clavicular breathing
  • It is easier to exceed your safe maximum heart rate for your current age and level of fitness

Mouth breathing, an industrial health specialist told me, is a largely post-industrial habit caused by nasal congestion associated with high density populations, pollution and contaminants.

I mentioned this conversation to an art historian friend. She agreed that it made sense. If a character in a pre-industrial painting has its mouth open it indicates that the character is speaking, singing, shouting or expressing a strong emotion vocally. Not simply standing and breathing through the mouth apparently.

So why do so many people mouth-breathe while running? As an Alexander Technique teacher I find this an intriguing question. F.M. Alexander’s problems were intimately tied up with an inefficient breathing pattern… Congestion and blockages can play their part but I suspect that the main culprit is simply habit.

The benefits of nasal breathing are:

  • It makes more efficient use of the oxygen you take in
  • It automatically keeps you within a safe maximum heart rate for your current age and level of fitness
  • It is associated with a better balance of the head on top of the spine
  • It is associated with more efficient diaphragmatic & intercostal breathing .

Give it ago. Nasal breathing will almost certainly slow you down a little in the short term. You can use this slower pace as an opportunity to perfect your running style and technique. If you stick with this you will soon return to your former speed but with a much smoother and more reliable running technique. In future posts I will look at some simple strategies for freeing up the nasal passages. I will also go into some more detail about breathing in general.

alan.mars@yahoo.co.ukĀ  or call 07930 323 057

The Alexander Technique - move through your life with greater ease

alexander technique hove- running fitness breathing

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