91% of athletic population were highlighted as displaying dysfunctional breathing according to a recent study in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research from May 2022.

"1,933 athletes across multiple sports and ages were screened from 2017 to 2020. Breathing patterns were assessed using the Hi-Lo test in the standing position. Scores of the Hi-Lo test were determined based on the presence or absence of abdominal excursion, anterior-posterior chest expansion, superior rib cage migration, and shoulder elevation."

The prevalence of athletes with dysfunctional breathing patterns was 90.6%.Athletes with diaphragmatic breathing patterns accounted for 9.4%."Interestingly there were no differences in breathing patterns between male and female athletes noted.So what does all that mean and why would people engaged in exercise be so prone to poor breathing? Surely if we are exercising and fit then we'd be good if not likely to be better at breathing?

The hi-low test is assessing the BIOMECHANICS dimension of breathing. BUT those with dysfunctional mechanics of breathing will most likely have altered biochemical dimension of breathing. In that more upper chest breathing is faster, which 'off-loads' more CO2 as part of 'overbreathing' resulting in a lower tolerance of CO2.

We do know (but I don't have a double blind peer reviewed study yet!) and it makes rational sense that the mechanics of breathing and the biochemistry of breathing are linked.What I believe to be happening is that at rest we are unaware of our breathing inefficiencies in both the biomechanical and biochemical dimensions.

That's because at rest our breathing isn't challenged. The athletic population will have a lower resting heart rate due to training most likely and therefore making breathing at rest even easier / harder to notice.

Therefore, the inefficiencies at rest are not noted and go 'under the radar', so what happens when we exercise is that those inefficiencies get exposed.

That's my take on it for what its worth!

Keep it nasal

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