Ineffective oxygen transport happens when you breathe with your mouth open during exercise. Open mouth breathing is a shallow kind of breathing called panting. Even during light or moderate exercise, a person with heart disease will start panting. Heart disease is becoming more and more prevalent in our society. The sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits can be a recipe for heart attack.
People with heart disease have a reduced ability to exercise. Yet, exercise is vital for a healthy heart and lifestyle. The reason for a diminished level of fitness and over-breathing, when you are exercising, is the fact that the breathing pattern is already shallow even when you are at rest, and this causes a reduced level of oxygen in the heart muscle tissue. Breathing in this way is a form of hyperventilation. Medical studies have proven that people with heart disease over-breathe or breathe about 2-3 times more than the healthy person would breathe. This explains why 100% of all heart patients have a condition of chronic hyperventilation. The studies reveal that all heart patients have abnormally low O2 and CO2 levels in the heart tissue due to the rapid shallow open mouth breathing at rest. Hyperventilation reduces arterial CO2 and that causes constriction of arteries and arterioles due to CO2 vasodilation effect and the suppressed Bohr Effect, which causes further diminished oxygen delivery.
Anyone can check that hyperventilation diminishes oxygenation of tissues. You can simply begin with a deliberate and forceful over-breathing and in two or three minutes, most people will faint. This happens because of the reduction of glucose and oxygen levels in the brain.
During exercise, open mouth shallow breathing produces a similar effect in heart patients. The drop in CO2 from open mouth breathing, are much greater in comparison to closed mouth nose breathing. As a result, all body organs get less oxygen. Therefore when you have an existing heart condition it is of the utmost importance to keep your mouth shut and breathe deeply through the nose during the exercise. That is why when considering an exercise program, it is important to hire a Fitness Expert with experience in training clients with heart conditions. It should also be noted that a body-fat measurement of over 30 percent can be considered a pre-existing condition for heart attack. The effects of over-breathing and reduced oxygen levels in the brain and heart muscle can result in death, so it is very important to have a Personal Trainer with experience in training clients with heart conditions.
Open mouth shallow breathing also inhibits the body’s ability to use nitric oxide, which is a powerful dilator of blood vessels. Shallow open mouth breathing reduces or prevents absorption of nitric oxide and so many open mouth breathers with heart disease will use nitroglycerin to have more nitric oxide in blood, instead of simply closing the mouth and breathing through the nose! I suggest that it is much healthier and smarter to simply shut your mouth and breathe through your nose.
The fact of the matter, nasal breathing during exercise (in and out only through the nose only) prevents CO2 losses and acute exacerbations due to exercise. This means that if you have a heart condition you will need to start with very light exercise. Obviously, the permanent solution is to develop a natural breathing pattern that is deeper and slower all the time, whether you are exercising or not. This kind of closed mouth nose breathing will increase blood CO2 levels. Since CO2 dilates blood vessels and enhances the Bohr Effect, deeper and slower breathing at rest will increase body oxygenation and improve health and fitness of heart patients. There are several breathing techniques that increase body oxygen levels.
Here at Spartan Training one of the first things we teach all of our clients is proper breathing during exercise. Many people have heart conditions and are completely unaware of it. So it is of the upmost importance to always see a doctor before beginning an exercise program. I teach many of our clients breathing techniques that enhance and increase lung capacity and raise the VO2 max. Proper breathing harmonizes the central nervous system, the respiratory system, and circulatory system which in turn improves health and reduces stress and as we all well know, stress is directly related to heart disease.