The importance of nasal health during the winter months
Canadian athletes prepare for colder weather
(NC)—Every year, Canadians brace themselves for winter. They often find ways to distract themselves from the cold weather and opt for winter sports that balance fun and fitness. In fact, seasoned winter athletes have a deep understanding of the importance of nasal health during the winter months.
When we breathe normally, the nasal passage warms and humidifies the inhaled air, which would ensure that the air we breathe is at body temperature and almost at 100% relative humidity. During a sport such as cross-country skiing for example, an athlete's breathing rate can increase up to six times. When breathing is that fast, the nasal airway is no longer capable of meeting the demand to warm and humidify the inhaled air. This additional flow of cold, dry air bypasses the nasal airway's normal conditioning mechanisms, considerably increasing the dehydrating effect of the nose. As Alex Harvey, Canadian cross-country skiing Gold Medalist at the Oslo World Championships, said: “In order to perform cross-country skiing at an elite level, we must be able to breathe well.” A heavy exposure to inspired cold air can increase nasal dryness and induce airway inflammation. Alex went on to explain, “I use nasal irrigation products, such as hydraSense morning and night to ensure that my nose is properly hydrated at all times.”
In fact, professional athletes aren't the only ones who can benefit from proper breathing. The body is designed so that the muscles responsible for breathing and the heart take priority for oxygenated blood over limb muscles, meaning the rest of the body – legs and arms – will be the first to “go” causing premature fatigue. Therefore, even for the most amateur of winter sport athletes, whether it be for outdoor hockey, skiing or snow shoeing, proper breathing is essential for ultimate performance and in the end, for proper health.
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