The Importance of Lung Capacity for health and Longevity
Most people associate heart health with overall wellbeing and longevity, but recent studies have shown the vital role our lungs play in keeping us alive and healthy. 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.
According to a study from the Mayo Clinic, pulmonary function impairment is a significant risk factor for short and long-term morbidity and mortality, regardless of potential confounding factors such as age, gender, and smoking status. This means that the well-being of our lungs is critical to our overall health and longevity.
Decreased Lung Capacity Risks
Our maximum lung capacity is around six liters, but sadly, we can’t preserve this lung volume throughout our entire lives. It declines with age, and by the time we reach 35 years old, it begins to decrease, making it more challenging to supply our organs with enough oxygen. Aging also causes changes in our nervous system, lung tissue, muscles, and bones, which all negatively affect the air exchange process.
Many people only use 10-20% of their breathing capacity, even when their lung capacity is at its fullest. As a result, decreased lung capacity can lead to many health risks, including:
– 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
Increasing Lung Capacity Through Deep Breathing Exercises
Fortunately, there are simple and effective ways to increase lung capacity and avoid health risks associated with low lung volume. Deep breathing exercises are a safe and easy way to detoxify our bodies, relieve anxiety and stress, increase our lung capacity, and improve our overall health.
Before starting any deep breathing exercises, it’s essential to keep these rules and precautions in mind:
– Always assume an upright position while performing breathing exercises.
– Start with shorter periods of time and slowly increase the duration as you progress.
– Take deep and slow breaths to ensure your lungs are emptied entirely.
– Pay attention to your body and lung limits.
– Relax your muscles.
– Acclimatize your body to the surroundings and temperature.
Here are five breathing exercises to increase your lung capacity:
1. Pushing Out
The “Pushing Out” exercise is suggested by Super-Power Breathing authors, doctors Paul and Patricia Bragg.
– Start by standing up with knees loose.
– Bend over from your waist as you push out all the 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
This exercise stretches your ribs, which increases your lung volume and allows more oxygen intake.
– 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
This exercise relaxes and expands your abdomen, which allows your diaphragm to descend, giving your lungs more space to fill with air.
– Stand straight with one hand on your belly and the other one on your chest.
– Inhale fully through your nose, making sure the hand on your belly is higher than the one on your chest.
– Hold your breath for seven seconds.
– Exhale through your mouth for eight seconds.
– Tighten your abdominal muscles in order to expel any air left.
4. Oriental Breath
The “Oriental Breath” exercise gradually raises your lung capacity over time.
– Inhale and exhale while standing in an upright position.
– Take three breaths in through your nose without exhaling.
– Inhale one more time, raising your arms in front of you to shoulder level.
– Inhale 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
This exercise gradually increases your lung capacity over time.
– Stand in an upright position and close your eyes.
– Take a deep breath.
– Expel all the 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 three seconds.
– Repeat until you reach number 8.
Taking care of our lung health is essential to our overall well-being and longevity. Lung capacity decreases as we age, leading to various health risks. However, deep breathing exercises can help us increase our lung capacity, detoxify our bodies, relieve stress, and improve our overall health. Always remember to start with shorter periods of time and slowly increase the duration as you progress. Practice these exercises regularly to build healthy breathing habits and achieve optimal lung function.