Physical exercises have been proved and tested for their benefits for the human body. Different sets of exercises help people improving the function of different organs and body parts. For instance, aerobic exercises improve your cardiovascular function and improve muscular strength. Similarly, breathing exercises can aid in improving lung capacity.
Improved and expanded lung capacity is not just good for athletes striving to achieve better cardiorespiratory endurance. It can also alleviate the symptoms of patients suffering from asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and coronavirus.
What does lung capacity mean? Why it is important to improve lung capacity? How to improve lung capacity? Keep reading this article because we are going to answer all these and similar questions here.
What Is Lung Capacity?
Lung capacity, as the term implies, is the amount/volume of air that lungs can hold upon the maximum inspiration by an individual. A healthy adult can hold about six liters of air upon their maximum effort of inspiration.
It is important to mention here that the term “lung capacity” can also be used to refer to the volume of the lungs at different phases of the respiratory cycle. In that case, the volume at maximum inspiration is called total lung capacity.
Why Is It Important to Improve Lung Capacity?
Improved and increased lung capacity is beneficial for the human body in every sense of the word. For athletes such as runners, swimmers, and cyclists, it results in better cardiovascular endurance and a higher anaerobic threshold. For people suffering from chronic respiratory diseases, it helps them in fighting shortness of breath in a better manner.
These are some physiological benefits of having improved lung capacity.
- Strengthens respiratory muscles
- Optimizes breath and overall pulmonary function
- Improves stamina and endurance during tough physical activities
- Improves blood oxygenation that strengthens the overall immune system
How to Improve Increase Lung Capacity?
As mentioned earlier, some breathing exercises can come in useful in improving lung capacity. We are going to discuss a couple of exercises that you can use to expand lung capacity. The best thing about these breathing exercises is you can carry them out without needing any expert supervision.
Exercises to Increase Lung capacity
Deep breathing is one of the simplest yet effective breathing exercises. All you need to do is inhale as much as you can and then exhale the inhaled air through a cough. Research suggests that deep breathing can clear out excess mucus from the lungs that consequently allows better air circulation. The following are the simple steps of a simple deep breathing exercise.
- Sit, stand or lay down in a comfortable position
- Inhale as deep as you can
- Without any delay (just like normal breathing), cough out the inhaled air
- Repeat these steps 5-10 times to complete the set
This exercise can particularly help those who have recently recovered from pneumonia.
This breathing exercise is about strengthening the diaphragm muscle (a muscle that sits at the bottom of the chest and facilitates expansion and contraction of the lungs). Follow these steps to carry out belly breathing.
- Keep your hands on the stomach and take a slow breath through the nose
- Notice how far the stomach/belly has risen and then exhale through the mouth. Try to keep the exhalation longer than inhalation.
- Inhale through the nose and try to raise the stomach higher than the previous rep.
- Exhale through the mouth and try to extend the exhalation with each rep.
Do a set of 10-15 reps daily to improve the rate of lung expansion and contraction.
Pursed Lip Breathing
Pursed lip breathing exercises to slow down the breath rate that relieves shortness of breath. It essentially keeps the airways open for longer that cuts down the work goes into respiration. Follow these steps to carry out pursed-lip breathing.
- Sit up straight or stand in a comfortable position
- Slowly inhale through the nose in a controlled manner
- Purse the lips (make a pout) and exhale through the pursed lips
- Keep the exhalation twice as long as the inhalation
Besides these breathing exercises, you can also improve your lung capacity by introducing intervals in your high-endurance physical activity. For instance, if you are running, run at a higher speed for two minutes, then slow down for a minute and then pick up the previous speed again. You can follow the same cyclic pattern while doing any exercise, training, and workout.
Respiratory Training Device— A Quick and Efficient Way to Improve Lung Capacity
Strengthening respiratory muscles is at the core of every breathing exercise that improves lung capacity. You can improve the muscle strength and consequently lung capacity by using an efficient breathing trainer device.
Orygen Valve offers easy-to-use respiratory training devices. These devices can help you strengthen aspiratory and expiratory muscles. Strengthened respiratory muscles improve respiration that subsequently results in increased lung capacity.
How to increase lung capacity for runners or how to relieve symptoms of asthma? Get in touch with us if you want to find how our DIY breathing trainer devices can help athletes and patients improve their respiratory health.