Listening to your body before starting a new training plan is utterly important. Understanding what your body isn’t prepared for can save you from a lot of stress and excess tension, it’s the basis of a healthy workout regime.
Your breathing holds primary importance, while you run. Lung capacity is an important factor that you should consider before getting into a new cardiovascular activity. Running is an excellent way of maintaining physique, fitness, & strength, however efficient breathing for running has its conditioning. For maximizing your performance, it is essentially important to tune in with your breath & make appropriate improvements. Vital lung capacity is the amount of air your lungs are capable of holding. The greater your lung capacity is, the more oxygen can get in your bloodstream which eases your body, boosts its efficiency, builds more stamina & makes you feel more powerful that ultimately helps in reaching your full potential.
Same as other organs, your lung function naturally declines with time, the lung capacity starts dropping slowly after your 30s. New approaches might make you feel unnatural or uncomfortable. Over time adjustment will not only make your runs more enjoyable but will enable you to get most of them. Following certain techniques and exercises can help in delaying that.
Why should you improve your vital lung capacity for running?
To retain your health and proper functioning, human bodies essentially require oxygen. Naturally, we inhale oxygen & exhale carbon dioxide, which mainly is the responsibility of our lungs. The exchanged oxygen is transported to our brains, heart & muscles. For the full functioning of the respiratory system, a healthy vital lung capacity is needed. It can be increased by exercise.
Strenuous activities like running in your running clothes cause the body muscles & respiratory system to work faster than normal i.e removal of carbon dioxide buildup and inhalation of oxygen. The quality of your breath is also an indicator of your overall fitness level and determining your body’s response to your current pace & intensity of running. A healthy respiratory system helps you in becoming a strong runner with boosted stamina. Shallow or quick breathing tire you tire quickly. And make you stop the run even before the legs call it off. Because your lungs are unable to satisfy the oxygen needs of your muscles. Working too hard by pushing yourself beyond the capacity, can make you experience wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. Improved lung capacity no only makes you run faster but have the following benefits:
- Optimized breathing
- Strengthened respiratory muscles
- Better lung functions
- Increase the supply of oxygen to your brain, help with the clearer & focused mind
- Increased the supply of oxygen to the muscles, and have a positive impact on your physical shape & performance
- Improved your stamina & endurance
How to Improve Lung Capacity for Running
Following breathing exercises help in improving vital lung capacity for running
1) Deep Breathing
This breathing approach incorporates the use of your entire lung capacity by an active engagement of all the muscles in your respiratory system, especially your diaphragm.
Your diaphragm lies below your lungs & divides your torso in the abdominal & thoracic cavities. It is soft and flexible tissue.
When you take deep breaths, the diaphragm is pulled down to the abdominal cavity for completely inflating your lungs, by drawing in the maximum air. As you exhale, it deflates and squeezes the whole air out. Take in maximum air you can hold for about 20 secs. If you are unable to hold the breath at your full lung capacity for about 20 secs, then hold as long as you possibly can. Increase the duration gradually. Repeat this exercise 3 to 4 times in a single series.
2) Pursed lip breathing
It’s a good technique for learning how to control your breathing rate while improving oxygen exchange & carbon dioxide removal. It’s an overall improvement of your breathing rhythm. For practicing pursed-lip breathing, start inhaling the breath slowly by your nostrils & exhale through your pursed lips as slowly as possible. It should be double the time you took while inhaling. Repeat the activity as much as possible.
3) Belly Breathing
It’s a diaphragmatic breathing exercise like deep breaths. It boosts the supply of oxygen your body & muscles need. For knowing whether you are breathing through your belly or chest, place both of your hands one at each. An inhale deeply & check which hand rises more. It should be your belly. Regardless of the results, this exercise will help in improving your lung capacity.
4) Numbered Breath
You can perform this exercise before starting your run or while getting in your running clothes. Start this activity by inhaling the deep breath & then exhaling them slowly. Ensure all the air present in the lungs is passed out. Then inhale, & exhale for 2 seconds, then Inhale and exhale for 3 seconds. Keep on Repeat till you reach 8 seconds & then go down or repeat the exercise from beginning.
5) Standing Chest Expansion
Start by standing on your feet open hip-distance apart. Prepare for inhaling, & exhaling by pulling both of your arms down & back as much as possible. Hold & inhale, and turn your head to the side. Then exhale and turn the head to center, then inhale and return the arms to the neutral position. Keep in mind that you are not virtually trying to swing anything. Make it a calculated movement.