How To Increase Lung Capacity For Running
If you are a regular runner, your lung capacity is one of the most important things you should work on. Improving it will mean you are ready for the next level – if you increase your breathing efficiency, you’ll be able to run longer and faster. So, take a look at these tips and you’ll feel how it gets easier to breath each time you go for a run.
1. Learn how to breathe deeply
When you breathe deeply, you use the entire lung capacity. However, the majority of runners takes shallow breaths, meaning they are chest breathers rather than belly breathers who know how to take deep breaths. Shallow breathing means you don’t use the abdominal area to breathe, which makes it pretty ineffective.
Deep breathing can be learned – lie on the floor, open your chest and relax your shoulders. Put one hand on your belly, while the other one should be resting on your chest. Breathe in really slowly and make it last for about 10 seconds. Try to visualize your lungs receiving all that air. Feel the air that’s filling your chest and abdomen. When your lungs are full, hold your breath for 10 seconds and then spend another 10 seconds to exhale. Just make sure you purse your lips and pull the belly button to the spine.
The hand resting on your abdomen should be moving as you breathe, while the other one on your chest should remain still. In essence, every time you take a breath, your abdomen will fill up like a balloon.
2. Rhythmic breathing
Maybe this sounds complicated but it isn’t. It’s just proper coordination of your inhales and exhales with your steps while running.
The breathing ratio that’s usually used is 2:1, meaning you should take two steps while you’re inhaling and just one step while you’re exhaling. However, the ratio will depend on the intensity of your workout, your speed and fitness level. This means that, if you are a beginner, you should use the 2:2 or 2:3 ratio for a low or moderate running intensity. Just know that this isn’t a firm rule – every runner has their own preference, meaning it doesn’t have to work for you just because it works for someone else.
3. More serious breathing issues
Sometimes serious medical issues can keep you from breathing properly and many times it can go completely unnoticed. In that case, there is no running technique or breathing technique that could help you increase your lung capacity. Mild allergies could be the cause of your constantly runny nose, so it’s best to get tested for a wide spectrum of allergies. A deviation is another possibility, but it poses a bigger issue. Signs of a deviated septum are frequent nosebleeds, a dry nostril, snoring and sinus infection. The solution is one of the two surgical procedures – a septoplasty or a rhinoplasty. These procedures are taken to a higher level in Australia, where people get rid of the problem quickly and almost painlessly. As some people have already undergone a similar procedure that was poorly executed, professionals at Silkwood Medical will assure you that your nose will work better after you undergo a second one.
4. Altitude training
No matter which sport it is, altitude training can help in doing that sport better. It’s that simple. No wonder that many professional athletes opt for it. When you’re at a higher level, there’s less oxygen, which makes your body compensate. Your body starts greater production of red blood cells and hemoglobin. It means your blood will increase its capacity for carrying oxygen, and your body will be more able to convert oxygen to energy. When you climb down to a lower level, your body will keep the increased level of hemoglobin and red blood cells nevertheless. This can last for up to two weeks.
However, it’s important to remain cautious. When you do your altitude training, you will probably feel symptoms such as fatigue, altitude sickness and dizziness. This also means you need to give your body some time to adapt to the change – it will probably take a couple of weeks before you start feeling better while being on such a high level.
5. Keep your lungs healthy
There are some things you can do to keep healthy lungs. Firstly, eat food that’s full of antioxidants like cruciferous and leafy vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and the green salad. They will clean your body.
Secondly, improve the air quality in your home by avoiding artificial fragrances and keeping the rooms ventilated. If there are signs of mold, call a professional to deal with it.
Increasing lung capacity will take some time but the benefits are worth it. What’s more, not only will you run faster but your lungs will be healthier and cleaner.