Just like any other organ in your body, your lungs improve with exercise. However, unlike many organs in the body, your lungs respond directly to physical activity.
The harder you work, the more oxygen your body requires, and the deeper and faster you must breathe. As your lungs and respiratory system become fitter, your lungs will actually become more efficient at pulling in oxygen from the air. This strengthening of the lungs may also aid in helping to prevent issues related to lung health during aging.
To put it simply, exercise is good for your lungs, and what’s good for your lungs is good for you.
The question is, which exercises grow lung capacity and health the best?
Nearly all cardiovascular exercises will gradually raise your heart rate and the amount of air you inhale and exhale, and the intensity of your breathing. There are a million ways to do cardiovascular exercise. You just have to find the one that’s right for you.
Want some suggestions? You could try briskly walking, jogging, running, swimming, hiking, cycling, doing jumping jacks, swimming, or nearly any sport that you can think of. Shooting hoops in your driveway, kicking around a soccer ball, playing tennis or pickleball, and throwing a baseball are all great ideas.
Whatever you do, the American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate, or 75 minutes of strenuous, cardio per week. Your heart (and especially your lungs) will thank you. You’ll also find that your lung capacity increases too.
If you want to give your body additional support for lung health, you can try a few different natural products that may help. Check out some of these products that seek to support healthy breathing.
- Seaxym Systemic Enzyme from U.S. Enzymes contains Seaprose S in crystalline form. This systemic enzyme works to accelerates and support a healthy respiratory system and sinus functioning.
- Ginseng and Rhodiola from Health Concerns contains ginseng and gecko powder to support clear airways and temporary relief from occasional coughing and wheezing.
- Pulmonary Factors from Nutra Biogenesis is an Ayurvedic formula that supports healthy lung function with bromelain, Boswellia, mucolytic herbs, and enzymes for comprehensive respiratory support.
Make sure to speak with your doctor about how to use supplements as a supportive aid when working to build lung capacity and overall health and wellbeing.
Resistance training is an umbrella term for any exercise using weights, bands, or machines that challenge the muscles by working against their action with an opposing force. In the case of free weights, that force is gravity. In the case of exercise bands, it’s the tension in the material that composes the bands. In dedicated exercise machines at the gym, it’s (often) hydraulic devices that work against the motion produced by your muscles.
As with cardio, there are endless ways you can perform resistance training exercises. But in every case, the result is the same. When you work hard or fast, you get tired and provoke your lungs to work harder to deliver more oxygen to your muscles. Resistance training will help build your muscles, which is typically why people do this kind of exercise, but the benefit to your lungs is an excellent perk!
If you are restricted in movement or your ability to perform physical activity is limited, then breathing exercises may be ideal. Even if you can go for a run or play a high-intensity sport, breathing exercises can be great to further expand lung health.
How do you do these? If you have ever tried meditation or techniques to control your anxiety and stress, then you have already been performing many of these exercises.
Breathing exercises seek to change how you breathe, expand your diaphragm, and increase lung capacity and efficiency. Here is a great article from the American Lung Association about how to do breathing exercises! Follow along and see if it changes you for the better.
If you have ever spent a great deal of time in rest or general inactivity, when starting exercise for the first time, you may have experienced some chest pain. While this could be a sign of another underlying issue, sometimes it is simply your lungs being stretched and worked for the first time in a long time.
This is similar to how our muscles behave. If you don’t regularly stretch or perform an activity that works the muscle, they weaken and can become sore when worked for the first time.
It is important to keep your lungs active. In turn, this may help you to maintain the health of the respiratory system. Along with it, you will likely be working the heart too.
The benefits of working these two systems together are numerous.
So whatever you choose to do, we wish you great luck and ever deeper breath.