Are you looking to expand your athletic performance? A major step, often neglected, is to focus on improving your breathing. Every activity, movement, or thought in the body is dependent on oxygen. In fact, all the cells in in the body require oxygen to function. The lungs in the body are responsible for the delivery of oxygen to every other part of your body. But how often do you take the time to train your lungs? The use of the following exercises will allow you to maximize your lung capacity.
All athletes know the importance of physical training to success. Meanwhile, the lungs are just like all the muscles of your body, and needs to be trained. The lungs benefit from simple exercises. Well-performing lungs are important for living a healthy and adventurous life.
Lung performance can be changed through training and daily practice of breathing techniques. The improvement in lung strength and capacity improves stamina, power, and the prevention of breathing disorders. Stop skipping your workouts. Try out these 5 simple exercises to completely transform your lung capacity.
Facts About How to Maximize Your Lung Capacity
The maximum lung capacity (amount of air inhaled) is 6 liters.
The maximum amount of air exhaled out of the lungs after a full inhale is 4.8 liters.
At age 25, the amount of air you can forcefully exhale within one second decreases 1 – 2% per year.
Here are 5 Exercises to Increase Lung Capacity
1. Rib Stretching
For this exercise, stand up straight and arch your back. Breathe out until your lungs are completely empty. Begin to inhale slowly, filling your lungs with as much air as possible. Hold your breath for 10 to 30 seconds. Slowly exhale, with either normal or pursued lips, and return to a relaxed position. Repeat 5 times.
2. Abdominal or Diaphragmatic Breathing
For this exercise, begin by lying on your back in a comfortable position. Relax your shoulders, place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. Inhale slowly through your nose, hold, then exhale slowly through your mouth. You should feel the air move in through your nostrils and down into your stomach. Hold your breath for 7 seconds, while exhaling for 8 seconds by contracting your abdominal muscles to push out all the air. Feel the rise in your stomach with each breath. Repeat 5 times.
3. Pursed Lip Breathing
For this exercise, begin by relaxing your neck and shoulders. Close your mouth while inhaling slowly through your nose. Pause and slowly exhale through your mouth with your lips pushed together with only a small opening. Make sure your exhale lasts 2x the length of your inhale. Repeat multiple times until you create a slow and controlled breathing rate.
4. Pushing Out
For this exercise, begin by standing upright with your knees relaxed. Begin by pushing all the air out of the lungs. Stand up straight while inhaling to your lung maximum. Bring your arms above your head, while holding your breath for 25 to 30 seconds. Slowly lower your arms while you exhale out of your mouth. Repeat 5 times.
5. Numbered Breathing
For this exercise, stand up straight and close your eyes. Begin with a deep inhalation until you reach your lung capacity. Slowly exhale until your lungs are empty. Now inhale again, hold your breath while counting to 5, then exhale completely. Repeat these steps until you have reached 12. Repeat 3 times to gain more control over your breathing pattern.
- Control the rate and effectiveness of each breath. Quickly be able to slow down your pace of breathing.
- Improve ventilation by releasing any air trapped in your lungs, keeping your airways open, and slowing your breathing rate.
- Reduces stress, allows the body to lower the harmful effects of the stress hormone cortisol.
- Helps to lower both heart rate and blood pressure.
- Improves sleep quality.
- Athletic benefits include an improvement in core stability, tolerance to intense exercise, prevention of muscular injuries, and a decrease in energy expenditure.
How do each of these breathing exercises work?
The process of breathing with healthy lungs involves the use of the diaphragm, with the diaphragm driving the expansion of the lungs for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Respiratory conditions, such as with asthma, cause the lungs to lose elasticity. The lose of elasticity increases the amount of air staying trapped within the lungs. The increase in trapped air reduces the amount of room for the expansion of the diaphragm.
The reduction of space causes the use of surrounding muscles to work for breathing. When the diaphragm cannot expand, and additional muscles must be involved, each contribute to a limited amount of oxygen available while performing physical activities. The practice of breathing exercises reduce the air build-up in the lungs, allowing more room for the diaphragm to expand. As the expansion and strength of the diaphragm increases, so does the amount of oxygen within the blood.
Abdominal Breathing and Pushing Out
Abdominal breathing and pushing out assist to remove the extra build-up of air within the lungs. Each exercise increases the exchange of air and works to relieve shortness of breath.
Another exercise is rib stretching, which increases the amount of room for the chest cavity to expand during inhalation. The use of intercostal muscles between your ribs helps to enlarge the chest cavity, allowing for your lungs to expand further.
Pursued Lip and Numbered Breathing
The following exercises help with controlling the rate of breathing. Pursued lip breathing helps to lower and control the rate of breathing. This breathing technique works by assisting to keep the airways open longer. The increase in pressure prevents the collapse of the airways, so that trapped air in your lungs can be removed. The removal of trapped air, from quick and shallow breathing, helps to relieve shortness of breath.
Connection of Breathing and Athleticism
The use of these 5 simple exercises to maximize your lung capacity has a profound impact on your athletic performance. In fact, you as an athlete will benefit from altering the depth, rate, and capacity of your breathing. You must begin to pay close attention.
Proper breathing techniques require practice and repetition. However, as you train you will be able to take your performance to the next level. Certainly, take some time to practice these 5 simple exercises to maximize your lung capacity and excel your athletic performance.