Lung capacity is the maximum amount of oxygen your body is able to use and research indicates that this is the best predictor of overall health and longevity. Improving your lung capacity can greatly reduce the risk of serious health problems such as cancer, heart attacks and strokes and also improve a number of aspects of daily life including focus, concentration, memory and energy. It is a common perception that it requires lengthy cardiovascular workouts to optimize improvements in this area but this simply isn’t the case. Find out more in our Top 5 Ways to Increase Your Lung Capacity!
1. Diaphragmatic breathing
Diaphragmatic breathing, or “belly breathing”, engages your diaphragm, which is supposed to carry out most of the work when it comes to breathing. This type of breathing generates more powerful airflow, expands your lung capacity and is useful for general relaxation and stress-reduction. It also helps to slow your breathing rate to reduce the amount of effort and energy required.
2. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
High Intensity Interval Training helps to improve maximal oxygen consumption more effectively than doing only traditional, long aerobic workouts. Sprinting, in short, powerful bursts is one way to build up your cardiovascular capacity. Although all aerobic exercise is going to have a positive impact on lung capacity, HIIT may be considered more effective as you need less time and it could have a reduced overall physical impact on your body.
Improvements in the capacity and elasticity of the lungs have become an important breathing instruction in Yoga. Short-term yoga exercise improves respiratory breathing capacity by increasing your chest wall expansion and lung capacity. Yoga is an exercise well recognized for its efficacy in strengthening the flexibility of your muscles. However, what most of us don’t realize is that yoga can actually aid in improving a diminished lung capacity because of the breathing techniques that are practiced along with the postures.
4. Water-based exercises
Exercising in water will add resistance and make your workout feel more difficult. Your body will work harder to ensure your blood is getting enough oxygen, which will give your lungs an invigorating workout. Swimming is also a great exercise to take up when suffering from injuries such as shin splints and Achilles pain that make it difficult to perform higher impact activities such as running. Research has also found that if you splash cold water on your face whilst holding your breath, it’ll trick your brain into thinking that you’re about to be submerged underwater! This will help the slowing and regulation of your heartbeat, which allows blood to be pumped around your body more effectively.
5. Altitude training
If you’re a more serious athlete, training at altitude can promote significant improvements in your lung capacity. At a higher altitude, the air is thinner and contains less oxygen, which means your lungs will have to work a lot harder. Your body will adapt to the relative lack of oxygen by increasing the concentration of red blood cells and haemoglobin and keeping them at these higher levels for a significant amount of time after you’ve returned to sea level.
There are so many benefits to improving your lung capacity and reasons to take action, whether to heighten your physical performance, improve overall health and well-being or to improve a medical condition. Having more focus on your breathing techniques is such a simple and time effective way to improve your health, so why not give it a try? If you’ve tried any of the above let us know your results below or @ KeepFitKingdom !