29 Jan How to Increase Lung Capacity: 5 Techniques to Increase Lung Capacity
Our lungs can hold about 6 liters of air which is known as our total lung capacity. Total lung capacity is the volume of air in the lungs upon the maximum effort of inspiration.
Normally, the average adult takes 12 to 15 breaths per minute. A breath is one complete respiratory cycle that includes one inhalation and one exhalation.
Our lungs develop by the time we are 20-25 years old. It is natural for our lung function to gradually weaken after the age of 35. Also, factors such as age, gender, physical health, and overall condition have an impact on lung volumes and capacities.
A decline in lung capacity can be caused by several physiological changes that occur as you become older. Diaphragm muscle gets weaker over time. Lung tissue that keeps your airways open can lose elasticity, causing your airways to narrow. Your rib cage bones may also change and shorten, leaving less space for your lungs to expand.
Along with aging, our lack of physical activity as a result of a sedentary lifestyle has played a significant role in weakening lung capacity. We do not utilize our lungs to their full capacity. Our breathing is shallow, and our poor postures contribute to lung constriction.
Staying active, avoiding smoking, and are just a few measures to keep your lungs healthy and strong.
Many people experience shortness of breath following a workout because their lungs muscles have weakened. The heart and lungs, two of the body’s most vital organs, are activated during exercise. The lungs provide energy by bringing oxygen into the body and removing carbon dioxide. The heart pumps oxygen into the muscles as you exercise. When you workout, your body requires more oxygen and produces more carbon dioxide. When your lungs are in good shape, you have a lot of breathing capacity. But when your lung function is impaired, you may experience fatigue or shortness of breath.
Here are some powerful asanas and pranayamas that will help you strengthen your lungs and maintain optimal lung capacity.
- Kumbhaka (Retention of Breath)**
Kumbhaka is one of the most excellent pranayamas for improving your lung capacity. When you practice Kumbhaka there is a favorable effect on the intrathoracic and intra-pulmonary air pressures which lead to an increase in lung capacity. Regular practice of this pranayama will improve your breathing over time.
- Intercostal Breathing*
To increase lung capacity you should also work on strengthening the lung muscles. As your lung muscles play a major role in the functioning of the lungs. When you practice Intercostal Breathing there is an exercise of the intercostal muscles. There is better oxygenation and improvement of the vital capacity of the lungs.
- Bhastrika—The Bellows Movement**
Just like the fire is necessary to shape and purify the metal, in this pranayama, the forceful inhalation and exhalation produces heat for purification and energizing the body. This action helps in increasing lung capacity, purifying the lungs, and strengthening the core.
- Talasana—The Palm Tree Posture* (Variations)
Talasana is an excellent asana to enhance lung capacity. It develops the respiratory muscles and their vital index as there is an all-round expansion of the lungs due to the movements of the upper part of the body. This full-body stretch asana helps you to breathe deeply and rhythmically.
- Konasana 2
Konasana 2 helps to improve the vital capacity of your lungs. It is an effective side bend asana that induces clavicular breathing and aids proper ventilation of the uppermost part of the lungs. It gives an excellent stretch on the sides and helps to activate and strengthen the underused muscles.
Being active and staying fit can help to keep your lungs healthy and enhance your quality of life, whether you are healthy or you have a lung condition. Obesity has also been a major cause of reduction in lung capacity, hence it is important to maintain proper weight. Also, remember to have a balanced diet and provide sufficient rest to the body and mind. Stay healthy, Stay happy!