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Nasal Bands Don't Help Athletes

A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows that the splints that many athletes wear across the bridge of their noses enlarge the opening in their noses, but do not help them to breathe in more oxygen or help them to exercise longer.

During intense exercise, you can't get enough air through your nose to meet your needs for oxygen. The cross sectional areas of the openings in your nose are less than one tenth the size of the opening in the back of your mouth and are so small you'll turn blue when you pick up the pace. You don't need to breathe through your nose when you exercise, even though it warms the air and clears pollutants. Your body heat during exercise protects your lungs so well that air taken in at 40 degrees below zero Fahrenheit is warmed almost 100 degrees before it reaches your lungs. Breathing through your mouth when you exercise on polluted days allows large amounts of pollutants to get into your lungs, but small hairs called cilia lining your bronchial tubes sweep the filth up to your mouth where you swallow it and it passes from your body.

1) AD Wilde, SR Ell. Effect on nasal resistance of an external nasal splint and isotonic exercise. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 1999, Vol 33, Iss 2, pp 127-128.

Checked 8/31/08

May 12th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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