How Wearing a Mask Actually Helped My Breathing

Last updated: April 2021

During this pandemic, I have heard many people complain about having to wear masks. The usual complaints are that it inhibits the amount of air that they are able to take in. The air that they intake is full of fibers or particles from the mask itself. Or that the mask makes them feel hot and generally uncomfortable. These are all valid reasons for not wanting to wear a mask, however, I feel that it has actually helped with my breathing.

How to breathe

For a kickoff, it is really important to know we are breathing correctly. You might think that breathing is something you just do and therefore do not have to think about it. Actually, there is more to breathing than you may have previously thought! There are a few big names in this field of 'breathing' that you must check out. James Nestor - his book, Breath - The New Art of a Lost Art and Patrick McKeown, who works with athletes and young children all of whom have chronic conditions such as asthma and eczema.

In a nutshell, both guys re-teach the best ways of oxygenating our systems in such a way that it can help in the prevention of very serious conditions like heart disease, cancers, etc. I must say this is not some latest fad or wishy-washy new age thing people are doing to try and make a quick buck or two. There is a plethora of scientific literature which both men draw upon to show their findings.

Breathing through our noses

Anyway, the biggest tip they give is to advise people to breathe through their noses as much as possible. When we breathe through our mouths, we take in pathogens and cold unfiltered air which can cause issues. When we breathe through our noses, the air goes through many layers of filtration.1

Our noses are incredible! They are not just for smelling or sniffing. The air is moistened and warmed. This allows the body to get more oxygen into our airways and, when that happens, you will find that your sleep improves, therefore your body can heal more effectively. If oxygen is circulated effectively it will fight off viruses and in doing so it will help in the prevention of disease.1

Masks are a good thing

We had a pretty cold winter here in the UK and it is only just beginning to warm up a little. I noticed that in previous years, that when I drew in cold air this would irritate my lungs and I would need my inhaler to alleviate my wheezing. Wearing a mask has been a revelation because it sort of does the job of the nose. The air is filtered and moistened somewhat. So this meant that when I would go out for my daily walk, the mask kept my asthma at bay.

I think I will carry on this practice long after this pandemic finishes. I may get some very odd stares from the general public but it will be worth it if I can keep healthy and reasonably fit. So, maybe you can try breathing through your nose more? The more you train yourself to do the easier it becomes.

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