Whidden, M. A., Thompson, J., Parker, T., Tobin, R., Stearne, D., Melton, S., & Reed, M. (2013). Effects of nasal irrigation on exercise time, sympathetic tones, lactate, and ratings of perceived exertion. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 45(5), Supplement abstract number 2155.

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"Nasal irrigation is the process of rinsing out one’s nasal cavity and nasal sinuses with a hypertonic saline solution squirted from a plastic bottle or neti pot. While nasal irrigation is typically used to treat chronic sinusitis, it may improve aerobic exercise time during a single bout by improving breathing capacity through the nose and increasing the buffering capacity of the blood via the sodium bicarbonate concentration in the irrigation solution."

This study examined how nasal irrigation effected intense aerobic exercise performance time, sympathetic tones, blood lactate, and ratings of perceived exertion. Active male Ss (N = 20) performed two treadmill graded-exercise tests under an experimental (nasal irrigation performed 10 minutes prior to exercise) and control (no nasal irrigation) condition. Total exercise time, heart rate, mean arterial blood pressure, blood lactate, and rating of perceived exertion were measured at rest, during the graded-exercise tests (including warm-up and cool down), and after a five-minute passive recovery period.

Heart rate was significantly lower with nasal irrigation than without during the first two minutes of the warm-up. Mean arterial blood pressure was significantly lower during the passive cool down with nasal irrigation when compared to without. Total exercise time did not change significantly.

Implication. Nasal irrigation might improve total exercise time during a single exercise bout and might enhance recovery from intense aerobic work.

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