Can you really eliminate exercise induced asthma? According to Dr. Patrick McKeown, in The Oxygen Advantage, he explains how it is 100% preventable. This was eye opening to me, as I’ve worked with several athletes who deal with this condition. To find that there’s a way I can help them in this aspect, really got me excited. McKeown discusses athletic performance, and how breathing properly assists overall health. He further examines how proper breathing eliminates exercise induced asthma, when following the protocol.
First, one must determine their BOAT (Body Oxygen Level Test) score. To do this, take a normal breath through your nose, followed by a normal breath out. Pinch your nose and time how long it is until you feel the first sign that you need to take a breath. The number of seconds, determines your BOAT score.
Next, breathe through your nose and not your mouth. Mouth breathing caters to asthma is several ways. Air taken in through the mouth, is not filtered of airborne particles, germs and bacteria. The mouth is not as effective as the nose, in conditioning air to the correct temperature and humidity prior to entering the lungs. We discussed this in last week’s newsletter. The mouth provides a larger space to breathe through than the nose—this the breathing volume will be higher, causing excess carbon dioxide to be expelled from the lungs. Carbon dioxide is a natural opener of the smooth muscle in the airways. Losing carbon dioxide, causes asthma airways to narrow even more. Mouth breathing does not allow us to benefit from nasal nitric oxide, which supports the lung’s defense capabilities. With these combined factors working against mouth breathing, together they play a significant role in the exacerbation of asthma symptoms.
Up next, is the breath tight to breathe right exercise. Place one hand on your diaphragm, and the other on your chest. Now breath in through your nose, ensuring that the oxygen makes it to your diaphragm first—then into your chest. The goal is to reach a point where you can take a small inhale—which gets to your diaphragm—and then exhale. Practice this exercise for ten minutes a day. Take a break if you need to..
Lastly, practice breath holds. Take a small breath in and out through your nose, hold your breath and walk for 10 to 15 paces. Discontinue walking, and release your nose, while continuing to breathe in and out of your nose. Wait for 30 to 60 seconds, and repeat. Continue to walk while holding your breath for 10 to 15 steps, followed by resting with nasal breathing from 30 to 60 seconds. If your symptoms are mild, you may hold your breath for more than 10 to 15 steps. Do this for 10 minutes. This is important to warm up to, avoid exercise induced asthma. Next, begin working out with only nasal breathing. If you feel as though you need to breath through your mouth, slow down. It will take a little bit for your body to adjust.
When you can get your BOAT score to 40, you will no longer experience exercise induced asthma. Now you can try this on your own but I recommend at least reading the book for yourself, and/or set up an appointment with someone who is trained in this method. We are huge fans, and will likely seek certification in the method—but meanwhile, please proceed with caution. This is just another small step we take for our athletes to help them take their performance to the next level!