The lungs play an integral role in keeping the body functioning properly. Along with this, your lung function can play an important role in determining how healthy you are. As a result, anything you can do to improve lung function can have a direct and positive impact on your overall health. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to improve overall lung function and capacity through breathing exercises and general exercise.
Highlighted below are some of the top exercises to increase lung capacity.
Top Exercises to Increase Lung Capacity
Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercises
This is one of the best exercises that you can incorporate in your routine to increase lung capacity. The reason why abdominal breathing exercises are so effective is largely due to the ability to stretch out the lungs using this approach.
In fact, the Lung Institute recommends that you incorporate this type of exercise into your routine to help boost your lung capacity.1 The diaphragm is actually one of the most efficient muscles of breathing.2 As a result, you will be able to properly empty your lungs using this type of breathing technique. By implementing this exercise, you will be able to strengthen your diaphragm for better function, decrease the amount of work that it takes to breathe, decrease oxygen demand, and minimize the total effort it takes to breathe.
In order to complete these exercises, lay down in a comfortable position on your back. Then, rest a hand on your abdominal section and your other hand directly on your chest. Begin to breathe in. During this process, ensure that your abdomen is rising higher than your chest. This will help visualize whether or not you are performing the exercise correctly.
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Then, simply exhale directly through your mouth. While breathing in through your nose, hold to a count of seven, and when exhaling, do so for eight seconds. Upon exhaling, squeeze your abdominal muscles in order to ensure that you are exhaling everything. You will then repeat the same process for an additional four cycles for a total of five cycles. You can do this anywhere from three to four different times throughout the day for five to 10 minutes each time.
This particular exercise is particularly effective for those that suffer from various kinds of respiratory problems like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This exercise is helpful for those that suffer from COPD because it can help strengthen your breathing muscles and allow you to take in more oxygen each time.
It has been shown that pursed-lip breathing can effectively improve exercise tolerance in those who suffer from COPD primarily because it can reduce dynamic hyperinflation.3 Pursed-lip breathing can be easily incorporated into your daily routine, allowing for improved lung function and capacity.
In order to complete pursed lip breathing exercises, find a comfortable position. Then, breathe directly through your nose while keeping your mouth closed. Once you complete that, breathe out for through your pursed lips. Ideally, you want to breathe in through your nose for around two seconds and breathe out through your pursed lips for around four seconds.
If you cannot achieve these times, you could always adjust according to what feels comfortable for you. You want to stick to breathing out for twice as long as you are breathing in, however. As long as you stick to that ratio, you should be able to implement the exercise effectively.
Why Exercise Is Important for Lung Function
In addition to practicing breathing exercises, it is also important to incorporate physical exercise into your daily routine if you’re looking to increase your overall lung capacity. Research shows that exercise is the single most important factor that can improve lung capacity and efficiency.
The better your cardiac fitness, the easier it is going to be to supply your organs and muscles with the proper amount of oxygen.4,5 This is especially important if you suffer from respiratory conditions or diseases. Working out or doing cardio is not going to make your lungs any stronger. Instead, it is going to allow them to boost capacity and efficiency. This alone is going to improve overall lung function because your lungs will have to work less to properly supply your organs and muscles with the necessary oxygen.
Overall, there are a lot of different exercises that you can incorporate into your daily life if you are looking to improve your breathing and overall lung capacity. You want to continue to work your lungs to improve their efficiency and capacity.
If you suffer from specific respiratory conditions or diseases, it’s important that you exercise caution when it comes to implementing specific breathing exercises and/or general exercise into your daily life. Discuss these lifestyle changes with your doctor prior to implementing them.
While you might not think of your lungs as muscles that need to be worked to sustain optimal performance, you do need to implement breathing exercises and other kinds of exercises to keep them performing optimally.
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