Lung capacity is the amount of air your lungs can hold. Reduction of total air volume in your lungs may be due to decreased lung elasticity or problems related to chest wall expansion during inhalation, causing restrictive lung disease. Your lung function and capacity may decrease over time because of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, age, pollution, smoking, and others. However, there are ways you can increase and maintain lung capacity, helping your body get enough supply and keeping the lungs healthy. Here are tips for increasing your lung capacity.
Eat foods rich in antioxidants
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is identified with high oxidative stress. Consumption of foods rich in antioxidants such as raw fresh fruits and vegetables like beets and beet greens, apples, pumpkin, tomato and tomato products, coffee, whole grains, and the best NAC supplement increases lung capacity and function.
Perform diaphragmatic breathing
Diaphragmatic breathing engages the diaphragm, which performs the heaviest lifting when breathing. This technique is ideal for people with COPD as it strengthens their diaphragm. To perform this technique, relax your shoulders, then sit or lie down. Put one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. Through the nose, inhale for two seconds to feel air moving into your belly. Ensure your abdomen moves more than the chest. While pressing down your abdomen, exhale for two seconds through pursed lips and repeat.
Do pursed-lip breathing
Pursed lip breathing facilitates airflow in and out of your lungs by keeping the airwaves open for longer. To properly do lip pursing, sit up straight to enhance lung movement. Through the nose, breathe deeply and in a controlled manner. Purse the lips and ensure they are almost touching and exhale twice as much as you inhaled.
Undertake interval training
Interval training is a good option for people who experience shortness of breath or breathlessness when exercising. It involves interchanging between short periods of more difficult and less difficult exercises. For example, you can try fast-paced walking then alternate with slow-paced walking. You may also try strength training for a minute then a gentle pace for two to three minutes. This allows your lungs to relax before challenging them again.
Perform deep breathing sessions
Through deep breathing, you can increase your lungs’ capacity. Start by slowly inhaling while lowering your diaphragm and consciously expanding your stomach. Expand your ribs, then lift and expand your upper chest. Hold your breath for a few seconds, then slowly exhale by releasing your chest, then contracting the ribs and stomach, and finally lifting the diaphragm. Repeat for as long as you can.
Since lungs are soft structures that expand and contract, they only take the room you create for them. To make more room for them, occasionally sit tall to reach your overhead, making more room for your lungs. Additionally, you can create even more room by leaning back on a stable chair, lifting your chest, and opening your front body while breathing deeply.
Preserving your lung health can boost functionality and capacity. To improve your lung health, refrain from smoking, drink a lot of water, stay physically active, and practice breathing exercises.
Robert Haynes did his degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.