The Growing Science Behind Breathing Through Your Nose: Quick Overview for Older Adults
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The Growing Science Behind Breathing Through Your Nose: Quick Overview for Older Adults

As people age, breathing can become more difficult for an array of reasons. There is new science touting the benefits of nasal breathing and how it can benefit seniors. Here are some things to consider, including the benefits nasal breathing can have for your senior loved one.

Benefits of Nasal Breathing

Nasal breathing allows air to pass through the nose and throat in a specific way that can offer many health benefits for your senior loved one. According to new research, nasal breathing is associated with improved cardiovascular health and better functioning of the digestive system. Furthermore, studies suggest that nostril breathing can reduce inflammation and improve overall wellness by restoring balance in the body's autonomic nervous system. Some other benefits include:

Improved Oxygenation

Nasal breathing is known to be more efficient for oxygen delivery than mouth breathing. This is because the nose and throat are specifically designed for this purpose. Additionally, inhaling through your nose warms and moistens air before it enters deeper into the lungs where oxygen needs to be delivered, making inhalation more effective.

Better Air Quality

The air that passes through the nose is filtered, reducing the number of harmful particles entering your senior loved one's lungs. This helps clean and reduce potential irritants from smoke and other pollutants.

Increased Quality of Sleep

Nostril breathing can help maintain regular and healthy levels of oxygen, leading to better quality and restful sleep for your senior loved one. When the air is filtered through the nose, it decreases snoring as well. 

How Nasal Breathing Works

The anatomy of the nose plays an important role in understanding how nasal breathing works. The anatomy includes both the inside and outside structures, such as the nasal septum, turbinates, nostrils or nasal passages, and nasal conchae. 

The nasal cycle is a unique process that occurs when air enters through one nostril at a time, which helps to regulate air pressure in the lungs. This also allows for better oxygen extraction from the air as it filters out dirt particles while assisting with controlling body temperature. 

There are specific exercises your senior loved one can do to further facilitate more effective breathing techniques, such as diaphragmatic deep breaths and pursed-lip breathing. Both of these can help relax tight chest muscles that come from shallow mouth-breathing habits.

Potential Risks of Nasal Breathing

Nasal breathing, however, isn't without risks and can exacerbate existing conditions such as sinus infections, allergies, or asthma. This is because all of these ailments involve inflammation in the respiratory system, which leads to difficulty with nasal breathing. The best way to ease any potential challenges is to work together with your senior loved one's physician in a personal care plan that best complements their individual needs.

Senior Helpers of the Kenai Peninsula Partners with You to Care for Your Senior Loved One

Overall, nasal breathing has many potential health benefits for your senior loved one that can improve quality of life, but you need to be cognizant of the potential risks. Senior Helpers of the Kenai Peninsula wants to help your senior loved one age in place in Soldotna, Anchor Point, Anchorage, Homer, Kenai Peninsula, Kaslof, Kenai, Moose Pass, Ninilchik, or Seldovia by helping with everyday tasks. Reach out to us today!