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Lung function and capacity becomes diminished by chronic obstructive pulmonary disorders that include asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema. Athletes need optimal lung function to pump oxygenated blood through the body during intense physical activity. For long-distance runners and mountain climbers, above-average lung function is absolutely necessary. There are a number of ways in which to improve respiratory ability.


Environmental Factors

The air indoors commonly harbors chemical fumes, antigens, dust, and other particles that have the potential to irritate the lungs. Bedding is known to harbor dust mites and their droppings. Carpets and window treatments are ideal locations for dust and debris to accumulate. Daily house cleaning reduces the amount of interior air pollution and the chance to inhale irritants. Allergy sufferers are often advised to remove carpeting, curtains and other window treatments to help reduce antigen levels. Individuals might also consider using less toxic cleaning agents.


Increase Physical Activity

Increasing physical activity has been shown to increase lung capacity by up to 15 percent. During exercise, the heart beats faster, which sends blood through the lungs quicker. By engaging in exercise regularly, the cardiovascular and respiratory systems become stronger. They function more effectively. Health care providers recommend that adults strive to get up to 150 minutes of moderately strenuous exercise every week. The routines may include fast walking, hiking, cycling, or swimming.


Pulmonary Exercises

Lung capacity might also be increased by performing a series of exercises designed to strengthen lung function.

Abdominal respirations

Lie on your back on a bed or other flat surface. Put one hand on top of the abdomen. Put the other hand on the chest. Inhale slowly but deeply through the nose and from the mid-section. The hand on the stomach should rise higher than the hand on the chest. Hold the breath for five seconds and exhale slowly through the mouth. At the end of the exhale, tighten the abdominal muscles. Repeat the exercise five times.

Rib stretch

Stand tall and exhale all of the air in the lungs. Slowly inhale through the nose. Expand the lungs as far as possible. Hold the breath for up to 20 seconds if possible. While counting the breath, put both hands on the hips so that the thumbs face forward and the pinkie fingers touch the small of the back. The action opens the chest. Exhale slowly. Repeat the exercise three times.