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Do you ride with your mouth open?

Did you know riding with your mouth open tells us a lot about your body and movements.

One of the key things we look for in riders is their ability to stabilise the pelvis and move smoothly through their midline. We look

for keys when assessing our riders to give us clue to where dysfunction is coming from.

When we see a rider with their mouth open it's starts to tell us a lot about dysfunction in the diaphragm and pelvic floor as well as poor breathing mechanics or stressed body.

Let have a look at each element in more detail.

Nasel breathing Vs mouth breathing

When you breath through your mouth or hold your mouth open it decreases the activation of the diaphragm. The human body has been designed to breath through our nose. The nose filters and warms air. If you breath through the mouth the air isn't warmed so it doesn't allow good oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange at the alveoli in the lungs (the bit where oxygen get inside the blood stream). The nose hairs filter debris from the air so we do not take them in to our lungs and have to produce mucus to then shift them back out of our lungs.

As the holes of the nose is smaller it also forces a stronger contraction from the diaphragm to pull air into our lungs.

Diaphragm relationship with the pelvic floor

The diaphragm works with the pelvic floor throught a pressure relationship. As the diaphragm rises so does the pelvic floor. As diaphragm depresses so does the pelvis floor. If you are a mouth breather the diaphragm isn't going to move much therefore nor will

your pelvic floor. If your pelvic floor can not contract and relax it will cause bracing in the saddle.

Mouth breathing due to stress

If your body is in a 'stressed state' your chemicals receptors within your body tolerate the build up of carbon dioxide less than if you are not. This is due to chemical change within the blood stream which is detected by the brain and increases your breathing rate. We monitor our client stress with a CO2 tolerance test. This give us a good idea where our riders are at and tell us a lot about performance and injury. If your co2 tolerance is low you are more

likely to be in pain or have restricted range of motion. As you tolerate less carbon docode the body tries to get rid of it quickly making you breath through the mouth. Unfortunately this then had a negative downward spiral in performance.

In summery when we see riders mouth breathing we are concerned with poor breathing mechanics which can have a negative impact on riding, making an unstable mid line as the diaphragm isn't contracting correctly, in turn reducing the function of the pelvic floor. We check all of these in our rider assessments.

On a side note Poor breathing mechanics lead to less oxygen available for the brain and will reduce brain function too! Let's make sure your breathing is right.... not though your mouth.

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