Nasal Strips, Fad Science or Performance Enhancer?

Updated: Jul 15, 2021

A nasal dilator is a narrow strip of flat plastic, with an adhesive on one side that is folded over the soft part on the nostrils such that it exerts a slight springing action to spread the nostrils.

Multiple published studies have reported the opening of the nostrils significantly reduces snoring.

As with a lot of fitness fads, a direct correlation between a published study in sedentary individuals and an aspect of exercise physiology was made. In this case, restricted airflow during exercise.

The Nose is Obstructed During Exercise, But We Have a Mouth.

At rest, most people breathe through their nose because the velocity of airflow is low enough that air resistance is low. Once exercise starts, increased nasal “flaring” results in an immediate 30% reduction in airflow resistance. As exercise intensity increases, there is a need for higher ventilation. At some point during the increase in ventilation, the airflow through the nasal passage creates a negative pressure during inspiration and the opening of the nose begins to collapse.