• Lung Training

    Considering the essential function that the lung performs, it is about time we know more about this special organ and the methods to keep it fit.

    The lungs are situated in the upper chest, near the backbone,  on either side of the heart - the left is generally smaller than the right. The lungs, with the help of a muscle called the diaphragm, help in the inhaling and the exhaling of air. But this is not all the lungs do.  They also:

    • Filter out small blood clots formed in veins
    • Serve as a layer of soft, shock-absorbent protection for the heart
    • Maintain sterility by producing mucus containing antimicrobial compounds
    • Serve as a reservoir for blood in the body

    Normally we associate the benefits of exercise to a healthy lifestyle, heart-health, and a general well being. However, we must remember that exercise is about full body health.  And if there is one organ that gives the heart a run for its money in importance when it comes to being fit, it's the lung. Similar to the heart, the lungs can be conditioned to function more effectively through consistent training. Luckily, you don't have to think of your lungs as a separate body part that needs to be addressed during your workout. It will jump in and participate no matter what exercise you're doing. However, if you're looking to actively engage your lungs and maximize their performance, there are some things you can do.

    Breathe Deeply

    One of the most common methods of making your lungs healthy is to inhale and exhale deeply and slowly. When taking in a slow, deep breath, a greater amount of air enters your lungs. Similarly, when you exhale, it is advisable to do so completely and slowly. Once you've got the pattern down, you may be surprised at how much air you can really hold in your lungs - and how often you don't breath in completely.

    Swim

    Swimming is not just a great, full-body workout, but it also focuses on improving lung performance. During a swim, your body is properly regulating breathing, maximizing lung efficiency, and learning how to improve overall lung capacity.

    Do Yoga

    Another great exercise for lung training is yoga. Yoga, by nature, forces you focus on your breathing - asking you to regulate it as well as take stock of it. Yoga helps you increase lung capacity by improving your breathing habits and teaching you positions that expand your chest.

    Keep Workouts Consistent

    Regular cardiovascular exercises serve as training for your lungs. Through constant exercise that challenges your lungs, they will learn to perform better. Your body is always looking to minimize effort and maximize rest when possible. This kind of 'stress' to the body forces it to learn how to adapt to what you're demanding of it - resulting, over time, in less work to achieve more.

    The Bottom Line

    Keeping your lungs in mind when working out will not only maximize the benefits of that workout, but it will also give your lungs a chance to improve along with the rest of your body. What will result is easier workouts, better sense of well-being, a healthier respiratory system, and an increase in energy in any activity you do.

    Before focusing on increasing your lung capacity, however, you'll want to make sure your body is prepared for this kind of workout.  Keep in mind any health issues you may have like allergies or asthma or other conditions like being a smoker or living in a very polluted city. Consult a physician regarding your lung health.

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