Increasing your lung capacity can make it easier to breathe, participate in rigorous activities and sports easier, and for your lungs use air more efficiently. There are many exercises of varying levels of difficulty that can increase your lung capacity.
Here are some exercises that can increase your lung capacity, from simple breathing techniques to tougher workouts.
- Abdominal Breathing – Lay in a comfortable position on your back, resting one hand on top of your abdomen and the other on your chest. Breathe in slowly and deeply from your midsection (the hand on your abdomen should rise higher than the other one). Exhale slowly and completely through your mouth. Inhale through your nose, holding for around seven seconds, if possible. Slowly breathe out for longer than you inhaled, squeezing your abdominal muscles at the end to get rid of excess air. Repeat five times.
- Pushing Out – Stand with an upright posture on flat ground, keeping both knees loose. Bend over at the waist while pushing out all the air from your lungs. Slowly return to standing up straight while inhaling. When your lungs are full, hold your breath for 20 seconds. While you’re counting to 20, raise your arms over your head. Relax as you exhale slowly and lower your arms. Repeat four times.
- Rib Stretch – Stand upright and exhale all the air out of your lungs. Breathe in slowly and allow your lungs to full to maximum capacity. Hold the air in for 20 seconds, if possible. While you are counting, place your hands on your hips – thumbs facing forward and pinkies toward the back. Relax and exhale slowly. Repeat three times.
- Learn to play a wind instrument or to sing – Both give your lungs a regular workout and help you learn breathing control.
- Exercise in water – Exercising in water adds an element of resistance to your workouts, making your body work harder to supply oxygen and giving your lungs a good workout.
- Cardio exercise – 30 minute cardio sessions that include short bursts of intensity yield optimal results. There are many forms of cardio exercise that can be modified to your physical fitness level.
- Higher elevation – There is less oxygen at high elevation, making your lungs work harder. Working out in higher elevation can be a great way to increase your lung capacity, but should be done with caution and is generally for those with an already high fitness level.
Some of these activities may not be appropriate for you based on your current activity level and lung function. As always, consult your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen.