Oronasal breathing during exercise

Pflugers Arch. 1978 Dec 15;378(1):65-9. doi: 10.1007/BF00581959.


The shift from nasal to oronasal breathing (ONBS) has been observed on 73 subjects with two independent methods. A first group of 63 subjects exercising on a bicycle ergometer at increasing work load (98--196 W) has been observed. On 35 subjects the highest value of ventilation attained with nasal breathing was 40.2 +/- 9.41 . min-1 S.D. Ten subjects breathed through the mouth at all loads, while 5 never opened the mouth. On 13 subjects it was not possible to make reliable measurements. On a second group of 10 subjects utilizing a different techniques which did not need a face mask, the ventilation at which one changes the pattern of breathing was found to be 44.2 +/- 13.51 . min-1 S.D. On the same subjects nasal resistance did not show any correlation with ONBS. It is concluded that ONBS is not solely determined by nasal resistance, though an indirect effect due to hypoventilation and hence to changes in alveolar air composition cannot be ruled out. It is likely that ONBS is also influenced by psychological factors.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Airway Resistance
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mouth Breathing / physiopathology
  • Nose / physiology
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Respiration*
  • Respiratory Function Tests