Lets Improve Our Lung Capacity
Regular exercise as we all know and have read is important. Additionally we know that along with the benefits of remaining fit and enhancing our quality of life, exercise is also good for improving our lung capacity. This holds true whether we have any lung issues or not.
Our breathing and lung capacity is influenced by physical activity or lack thereof. In order to remain healthy it would be wise to do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week.
During physical exercise a healthy person doing a moderate amount will make you a bit out of breath, and this is good. For a person who is facing lung problems, the pace may need to be a bit more in order to become moderately breathless.
When you exercise, your lungs start to work harder, in order to remove the Carbon Dioxide being produced by the body to expel it. Along with this – there body needs oxygen to function and therefore the lungs need to draw enough fresh air in, so that it can enter the blood stream and get to the muscles needing it. Therefore with increased activity, then the lungs need to work faster to compensate.
One of the benefits of exercise therefore is that it makes the lungs work more efficiently to remove the toxins (Carbon Dioxide) and intake the fresh air (Oxygen).
So how do we improve our lung capacity?
Simple Stretch Exercise
- Stand upright with your back arched/ chest out
- Gradually exhale as much air as possible without losing the posture (use the abs to help push the air out)
- Breathe in slowly maybe over a 10 second time period
- Fill lungs with as much air as possible without losing posture
- Hold breath for about 10 seconds in the first instance
- Slowly exhale over a 10 second period
This exercise may be repeated extending the time to 12 seconds and a third time over a 15 second period.
Push Out Exercise
- Feet flat on the ground while in an upright posture
- Keeping the knees soft
- Gradually bend over from the waist while pushing the air out of the lungs (breathe out)
- Pause (briefly)
- Inhale slowly and return gradually to your upright position again
- Once you reach your original starting point (upright) Hold your breath for 15 – 18 seconds
- While holding your breath – gradually lift your hands over your head
- Hold briefly when your hands meet at the top
- As you bring your hands down – slowly exhale
This may be repeated for 3 – 5 times as a complete cycle – as your comfort level permits.
Yoga can also help
Triangle Pose aka Trikonasana
This pose allows easier air passage to the lungs. It also acts to stimulate the nervous system, and, as you spiral the chest towards the sky, it helps to expand the chest cavity. Additionally this pose acts to stretch the spine, the inner thigh, abdominal as well as the side muscles.
So how do we go about doing the Trikonasana?
- Inhale and step to the right
- Right foot at 90 degrees
- Left heel turned inward and heels about 3 feet apart.
- Exhale, reach out over the foot and bend to the right
- Place the hands either on your shin, ankle or hold the big toe of right foot with first two fingers of the right hand
- Pull on it – this creates a counter tension and an opposition type stretch.
- Turn head to look up towards the left thumb, opening chest towards the sky
- Feel the rotation of the hips as the right hip moves under and the left hip rotates open.
- Hold for five breaths.
- Inhale, come up slowly.
- Repeat on other side.
Just a few tips
- As much as possible try to avoid secondhand smoke or environmental irritants.
- Ensure that your diet has foods which are rich in antioxidants.
- For those in poorer air quality areas – Improve indoor air quality, maybe with the use of indoor air filters.
- Watch for irritants like artificial fragrances, mold, and dust.
If you are battling with any breathing issues such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), then it is recommended that you meet with your medical practitioner before you commence any of these exercises.