How to Improve Lung Capacity? – Learn All the Best Practices to Make Your Breathing Easier!
Whether you have a COPD diagnosis, you still need healthy lungs. A healthy set of lungs will keep the blood oxygen levels at optimum level. A good blood oxygen level will make sure that your body runs perfectly.
Certain practices can make your lung health better. With a COPD diagnosis, the lung capacity declines and so there is a need for exercise to keep the lungs healthy.
However, before we advise you on the best ways to increase your lung capacity, we suggest that you visit your doctor if you have a respiratory problem. Your doctor or pulmonologist should have the final say in the breathing exercises that you can use.
Exercises to Improve Lung Capacity
There are 2 types of breathing exercises that are extremely popular amongst those with COPD diagnosis. Why should these breathing exercises be done regularly by COPD patients? The short answer is that the diaphragm becomes ineffective because of the presence of old air in the lungs. The diaphragm has no space to contract and so breathing is not as good as it should be. These exercises push your diaphragm to move.
Since healthy lungs should be a goal for everyone, everyone should do these regularly.
Diaphragm Supported Breathing
People with COPD diagnosis have difficulty in moving their diaphragm muscles easily. This exercise forces the person to use their diaphragm muscles.
- You simply sit down or lie down. Your choice.
- Relax your shoulders.
- Place one hand on your abdomen and one on your chest.
- Now inhale. When you inhale, as you inhale through your nose, you will feel your abdomen go out when the air comes in. Inhale for a 2-3 seconds.
- Now exhale for the same duration of 2-3 seconds.
- As you exhale, feel the abdomen go back in. You can also push it inwards. Try to exhale through your mouth.
- Go through this cycle again and again.
Pursed Lip Breathing
This breathing exercise makes sure that your airways remain open for a long time. The method allows an effective gaseous exchange between blood and air in your lungs. This exercise for healthy lungs is one of the easiest and most convenient. You can do it anywhere.
- Simply shape your lips as if you’re holding a straw in between.
- Inhale through your nose.
- Exhale through your scrunched-up lips.
- Keep on going through this cycle.
It was discovered that those who play sports have a better lung capacity than those who don’t play any sports. This brought into light the fact that exercise can improve your lung capacity for those with COPD diagnoses. In this category, one can include running, jogging, rowing, cycling, swimming, and all the other vigorous exercises.
These exercises make the lungs work faster. This increase in the breathing rate increases the overall absorption of oxygen and increases blood oxygen levels.
This practice is more of your usual high-powered workout, including jumping jacks and pushups, and everything in between. However, this type of exercise is more suited for people with a COPD diagnosis.
Why? Because this exercise routine requires the person to take breaks in between the exercise. The individual exercising can move to slower exercises to cool down once they experience difficulty in breathing.
Yoga For Improving Lung Capacity
There are a number of yoga exercises that can help you if you want to make your lungs healthy. Three yoga positions that we consider really helpful include-
Alternate Nostril Breathing
- You sit straight.
- Next, you block one nostril with your digits from one hand.
- You breathe in from one nostril and you breathe out from the other nostril.
- You lie down on your back.
- You keep your legs straight.
- Your hands should be bent at the elbows.
- Hands will help push up your chest.
- While keeping up your chest, push your head back.
- Stay in this pose as your respiratory muscles get to work for better breathing.
Half Spinal Twist
- You sit down with your legs stretched out ahead of you.
- Now bend your right leg over your left knee.
- Place your right hand behind you.
- Bend your left knee towards the middle.
- Next, bring your left hand forward and place it on your right knee.
- Twist your upper body towards the right side.
- This pose will open up breathing space in your lungs.
This form of meditation is great for controlling breathing. The poses in this mediation require constant and fluid movement from one point to another. For a graceful transition from one pose to another, one must know how to control their breathing.
This is why Tai Chi can be great for your lung health and can help improve lung capacity.
Change Your Posture And Improve Your Lung Capacity
Let’s talk about how you sit and how you walk. Do you slouch? Are you sitting straight?
Let’s visit all the things that happen when a person with good posture breaths-
- Diaphragm contracts to make space for lung expansion during inhalation.
- Intercostal muscles contract to make space for the lungs during inhalation.
- A maximum amount of air can enter the lungs.
- During exhalation, the diaphragm and intercostal muscles relax and the lung space reduces.
Now let’s see what happens when a person is hunching when they sit-
- The diaphragm wants to contract but due to poor posture, it has no space to do so properly.
- The intercostal muscles contract to create space for the lung expansion but can’t do so because of poor posture.
- The air passageways are unable to open up fully.
- The lung capacity declines by a whopping 30%.
Imagine trying to blow a huge balloon in a small drinking glass. The balloon won’t be able to fill with air.
Because of reduced space.
So sit proudly! Your back should be straight. Allow yourself to breathe. This requires no effort on your part and is one of the easiest ways to increase your lung health naturally!
Clean Your House For a Better Lung Capacity
The air in your house matters. Bad quality air with toxic fumes, dust particles, and cigarette smoke can end up damaging your lungs. The lung damage will in turn decrease the surfaces where gas exchange can take place. So here’s some advice, take care of the environment inside your own house. You cannot control the air quality outside your own house. That’s alright.
You can, however, make sure that nothing bad lingers inside your house. You can have shortness of breath even inside your home. Remember to clean up your living space.
Get Musical- Breath Out Loud!
It is interesting that playing an instrument can increase lung capacity. We are not talking about playing any random instrument. Flutes, trumpet, saxophone, trombone, and any other instrument that will make you blow out air from your lungs.
It has been researched whether instruments have any effect on the respiratory system. Instrumentalists do actually practice amazing control of their breathing.
It turns out that yes; the instruments allow the user to actually exercise their respiratory muscles. Both the inhalation and exhalation parts of the respiration get a good workout. Every time you play an instrument, you are exercising your respiratory muscles. If you face difficulty in breathing, take out an instrument and start blowing air into it. It is a great exercise for the lungs. You are even making your posture better.
Sing Your Heart Out!
British Lung Foundation found out that singing can improve your lung capacity. Your local bathroom singer is in luck! S/he is making lungs healthier just being her/himself. Another research found that choir singers have much better breathing capacity because controlling one’s breathing is essential for perfect singing.
Singing can benefit those with a COPD diagnosis or generally weaker lungs. The lung capacity of choir singers was reported on average as being 3.12 L. On the other hand, those who don’t sing have a lung capacity of 2.73 L.
Imagine the benefits of this lung exercise in people with COPD diagnosis.
There is a lot that you can do to improve your lung’s capacity to breathe in the fresh air and increase blood oxygen levels. You can benefit from the different exercises as well as from getting a little bit into music. Healthy lungs are a great asset to the body. A good blood oxygen level increases the quality of your day. Even if you are a person with a COPD diagnosis, these exercises can improve your breathing quality.
A good pulse oximeter can help you keep an eye on your blood oxygen levels. Check out our website to get your hands on one of the best pulse oximeters in the market!