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Want To Be Healthier And Live Longer? Increase Your Lung Capacity With These 5 Exercises

Want To Be Healthier And Live Longer? Increase Your Lung Capacity With These 5 Exercises

Most of us believe that our heart health determines our overall well being and longevity, yet, studies have shown that our lungs play a much more significant role in keeping us alive and healthy. Scientists are showing how our lung’s capacity to take in and process enough oxygen is directly related to how our organs will perform and how long we will live. This study from the Mayo Clinic shows that “pulmonary function impairment is a significant risk factor for short- and long-term morbidity and mortality, despite adjustment for potential confounding factors such as age, gender, and smoking status.” This Framingham study also revealed that the determining factor in our longevity is our lung volume.

Decreased lung capacity risks

Our maximum lung capacity is about six liters, yet we can’t preserve this lung volume throughout our entire life. It decreases with age. By the time we are 25 years old, our lung capacity reaches maturity, and it starts declining as soon as we turn 35, making it more and more challenging to supply our organs with enough oxygen. As we get older, our nervous system lung tissue, muscles and bones experience changes which harm the air exchange process. Unfortunately, most people only use 10-20% of their breathing capacity even when their lung capacity is at its fullest. By not getting enough oxygen, our overall health suffers tremendously. Health risks related to decreased lung capacity include:

  • heart failure risk
  • less energy and more fatigue
  • reduced metabolic and digestive functions
  • higher risk of inflammation
  • decreased focus, concentration and memory
  • stamina and endurance decline during activity

Fortunately there are certain methods to increase our lung capacity and avoid health risks associated with low lung volume. Deep breathing exercises are safe, easy and effective ways to detoxify our bodies, relieve anxiety and stress, increase our lung capacity, and improve our overall health.

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Before you start keep in mind essential rules and precautions:

  • Always assume an upright position while performing breathing exercises.
  • Start with shorter periods of time, and slowly increase the time as you progress.
  • Take deep and slow breaths to ensure your lungs are emptied entirely.
  • Pay attention to your body and lung limits and make sure not to push yourself too hard.
  • Relax your muscles.
  • Acclimatize your body to the surroundings and temperature.

1. Pushing out

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    Super-Power Breathing authors, doctors Paul and Patricia Bragg, suggested this exercise for increasing lung capacity:

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    • Start standing up with knees loose
    • Bend over from waist as you push out all air from your lungs
    • Inhale as you slowly return to an upright position
    • Stop inhaling once you reach your fullest lung potential
    • Keep your breath for about 20 seconds with both arms extended fully overhead
    • Slowly exhale

    2. Rib stretch

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      As your ribs stretch during this exercise, your lungs can increase their volume and take in more oxygen.

      • Stand straight and exhale deeply
      • Inhale slowly until you reach your maximum lung capacity
      • Hold your breath for 20 seconds, resting your hands on your hips
      • Exhale slowly

      3. Abdominal breathing

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        via Return 2 Health

        This exercise relaxes and expands your abdomen, allowing your diaphragm to descend, leaving enough room for your lungs to fill with air.

        • Stand straight with one hand on your belly and the other one on your chest
        • Inhale fully through the nose making sure the hand on your belly is higher than the one on your chest
        • Hold your breath for 7 seconds
        • Exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds
        • Tighten your abdominal muscles in order to expel any air left

        4. Oriental breath

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          via wikiHow

          • Inhale and exhale standing in an upright position
          • Take 3 breaths in through your nose without exhaling
          • Inhale one more time, raising your arms in front of you to shoulder level
          • Inhale once again, opening your arms and raising them overhead
          • Exhale all the air as you bring your arms down next to your body

          5. Numbered breath

          Numbered breath exercise gradually increase your lung capacity over time.

          • Stand in an upright position and close your eyes
          • Take a deep breath
          • Expel all air from your lungs
          • Take another deep breath and think of the number 1
          • Hold your breath for a couple of seconds and exhale
          • Inhale and think of the number 2
          • Exhale in 3 seconds
          • Repeat until you reach number 8

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          Social Media Consultant, Online Marketing Strategist, Copywriter, CEO and Co-Founder of Growato

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          Last Updated on December 9, 2019

          5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

          5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

          Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

          Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

          Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

          1. Get Rationally Optimistic

          Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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          This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

          In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

          The result: no more mental stress.

          2. Unplug

          Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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          How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

          It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

          Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

          3. Easy on the Caffeine

          Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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          Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

          4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

          That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

          How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

          • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
          • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
          • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

          While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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          5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

          This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

          The result: mental stress will be gone!

          So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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          Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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