Breathing For Peak Performance on The Morning Blend

Kristen Dudas, Physician Assistant, and a triathlete, went on The Morning Blend to talk with Tiffany about how breathing impacts your athletic performance.
Breathing & Athletic Performance on The Morning Blend - ADVENT Physician Assistant Kristen Dudas Talking to The Morning Blend Host Tiffany
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June 23, 2023
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Tiffany: And welcome back. Today, we're talking about the importance of breathing freely, especially if you want to have a strong athletic performance. But get this, 61% of us are mouth breathers. I got one in my family. In today's Breathe Well, Sleep Well segment, we have Kristen Dudas. She is a physician's assistant at ADVENT and she is also a competitive athlete herself. And she joins us with tips to breathe better. Good to see- Look at you there making all your finish lines. So what's the deal? So you've been a competitive athlete for a long time.

Kristen: I have. Since childhood. And ran in college and just have carried it on since with doing triathlons and cycling events and other running events.

Tiffany: Yeah. You've done what the Boston Marathon and you've done Ironman. You've done all those, right?

Kristen: Yes.

Tiffany: That's pretty impressive. So you've been at ADVENT for eight years. And I think the thing is, you know, we think about athletes in general and like your ability to push through tough pain and different things like that, that sort of endurance. But when we're talking about somebody who has to breathe and do it properly, that's something you don't always see, correct?

Kristen: Right.

Tiffany: So tell us a little bit about peak performance with athletes and why breathing is so important.

Kristen: Sure. Well, think about oxygen, our breath. That's vital to survive. But athletes are thinking about peak performance all the time. We are spending money and time looking for the latest and greatest gear, equipment, coaches, nutrition. But think about unlocking your potential with proper, efficient, nasal breathing right within yourself. And we accomplish this. And look at having a healthy breathing triangle, which is open nose, open sinuses, open throat.

Tiffany: Kind of like right over your face is that triangle.

Kristen: That's right.

Tiffany: There it is. Oh, I did it upside side like that. Okay. So that's the breathing triangle. It’s the only place we can get air. And that can be- You say the difference between winning and losing is getting proper oxygen.

Kristen: It can. So surviving, getting oxygen, but thriving by really having efficient nasal breathing, not mouth breathing. And those benefits for an athlete can mean preventing dehydration, more efficient delivery of oxygen to the muscles and better recovery.

Tiffany: That's right, because when you breathe through your mouth, you're also putting out vapor, right? So you can get even more dehydrated quicker.

Kristen: You can.

Tiffany: Interesting. I just I think it's so fascinating. I don't run marathons. I know. It looks like it! Just kidding. But my friends do. And I hear a lot about, you know, just that trying to breathe through the nose slowly and properly. And I think, like being able to build that up is important. How about sleep? We hear a lot about sleep in general. How important is that when it comes to athletic performance?

Kristen: Sleep is essential. I can tell you from my own personal experience, times where I've neglected sleep and it led to injury and then it led to me forfeiting events and competition. And that's frustrating. And it's expensive. So sleep is while we're slumbering, we might think, oh, it's dormant, inactive, but sleep is actually a very active time. It's a time where our bodies, our bodies, our muscles, our brains are replenishing, they're strengthening, restoring. And it's this recharge or replenishing and rejuvenation that for athletes can mean better speed, quicker reaction times and better accuracy leading to peak performance.

Tiffany: Well, you think about just how they talk about drowsy driving, you know, different things like that and how reaction time. So athletes, you know, just that reaction time, like if you're cycling and there's somebody gets an accident or you know what I mean? Like anything like that, all of that matters. How can someone seem to breathe properly during the day but they don't then at night, is that a thing?

Kristen: For sure. I see those. I hear it daily with patients that they come in and say, I can bring breathe okay through during the daytime. But I'm struggling and suffering at nighttime.

Tiffany: And they know it?

Kristen: Sometimes they know it, sometimes they don't. So it can be two things and you may have one or both. It could be nasal obstruction or it could be a throat issue, and that's looking at the breathing triangle.

Tiffany: So how do they know? Let's start with the nose. How do they know if they're breathing properly through their nose?

Kristen: Some signs and symptoms that you're not breathing properly through the nose could be chronic stuffiness, nasal congestion, chronic sinusitis, mouth breathing, bad breath, daytime fatigue. And so a very simple test if you just gently close one nostril. Yeah, take a breath in and now do the same thing and pull to the side how much more freely can you breathe?

Tiffany: Whoa! You've got to do this! Wait. Okay, so you do this and you breathe, and then you pull to the side and breathe. That's a lot freer. And I don't feel like I have nasal issues.

Kristen: So it could be so much better than you think it is. My analogy is drinking a milkshake through a skinny straw or a wide straw.

Tiffany: Yes.

Kristen: Either way you get it. But how much better and with greater ease through the wide straw?

Tiffany: That just blew my mind a bit. Kristen Lake Seriously, I guarantee you everybody is trying that and noticing the difference. So what do we do? Because we're almost out of time here. So what do we do? How do you know if it's too bad you need treatment or we should actually come?

Kristen: If you think you have a problem with breathing, you almost assuredly do. More people- For most people, it's worse than it probably than they think it is. And so call us to schedule an appointment. We have medical professionals who can evaluate you, assess you, and give you a personalized treatment plan to help you really unlock your potential.

Tiffany: That's incredible. I know when I've come in before and it's you can just do a quick little camera and see and tell people like, yes, there are some issues. No, you're looking good. Maybe you just have a little bit of allergies. So I just think what you guys do is phenomenal and I don't think you should wait to go in and check it out, especially if you notice a difference with that test.

Kristen: That's right.

Tiffany: So if you think you- where is that? If you think you have a breathing triangle issue, go to advent morning blend dot com to take the breathing triangle quiz or to schedule an appointment in 60 seconds. Most insurances are accepted and no referral is required. There are five southeastern Wisconsin locations. Wauwatosa, Mequon, Oconomowoc, Oak Creek and Pleasant Prairie.

Tiffany: They also have offices in Appleton, Illinois, Indiana, and Minnesota.

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First published by ADVENT on
June 23, 2023
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 Breathing For Peak Performance on The Morning Blend