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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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          Ana Erkic

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

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          Last Updated on March 13, 2019

          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

          Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

          You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

          Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

          1. Work on the small tasks.

          When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

          Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

          2. Take a break from your work desk.

          Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

          Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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          3. Upgrade yourself

          Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

          The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

          4. Talk to a friend.

          Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

          Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

          5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

          If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

          Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

          Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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          6. Paint a vision to work towards.

          If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

          Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

          Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

          7. Read a book (or blog).

          The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

          Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

          Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

          8. Have a quick nap.

          If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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          9. Remember why you are doing this.

          Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

          What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

          10. Find some competition.

          Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

          Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

          11. Go exercise.

          Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

          Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

          As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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          Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

          12. Take a good break.

          Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

          Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

          Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

          Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

          More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

          Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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