If you want to improve the functioning of your lungs and your ability to pull in more life-giving, energy-stoking oxygen, you need to focus on two major areas.
The first is to develop the muscles and structures that support proper, healthy breathing.
The lungs have no muscles of their own. Their expansion and contraction are completely dependent on the muscles surrounding the rib cage and the diaphragm. You need to build up the strength and coordination of the structures that support proper, full breathing.
The second major area that affects your breathing has to do with what goes on inside your lungs. This includes your vital capacity and the residual air that remains in your lungs when breathing. The size of the lungs varies from person to person. But each of your lungs is about the size of a football.
Isn’t that funny? The first time I heard that, I thought “My lungs aren’t that small!” A football just doesn’t seem that big to me.
Naturally, a larger person will have larger lungs than a smaller person. Men have larger lungs than women. So there are some natural limits to lung capacity.
However, lung size is not as important as the total capacity of your lungs that you can use. This usable portion is called your vital capacity. A well-conditioned person’s vital capacity is about 75 percent of his or her total capacity.
When you exhale, you breathe out all the air you can from your lungs. The remaining air is called the residual volume. This is air that remains fixed in your lungs. You may have heard it referred to as “stale air”.
Too much residual volume is unhealthy. If you are inactive for any length of time, or you have a respiratory condition that is not well-controlled, the unusable portion of your lungs may increase. This physically blocks off more of your airways, which leaves less space for normal breathing – and makes it even more difficult to breathe when exerting yourself. You may get to the point that just climbing a flight of stairs leaves you breathless.
Unless you do something, this breathlessness and chest tightness will keep getting worse and worse. These two key areas – developing the structures that support proper, healthy breathing and improving your vital capacity – are the same areas we work on with the dynamic energy exercises I teach in my classes and through my programs. We’re talking simple, ancient, time-tested breathing and energy exercises that work – AND leave you feeling great!
An effective fitness program can help you improve your ability to breathe, build your vital capacity, and reduce the residual volume. However, many people do not breathe correctly when they exercise. In fact, unless you seek out this information, you likely have not been taught how to breathe to maximize the results you get from exercise.
Increasing the efficiency of your breathing and your ability to allow things to open up in a relaxed manner is a surefire way to target, develop and maximize the work performed by your lungs, as well as the structures that support proper breathing. If you’re serious about improving your physical condition and your health, you should make it a point to focus on expanding your vital capacity and ability to breathe properly. This type of dynamic breathing exercise will help you get fit more quickly. And it provides the foundation for robust health and longevity. AND – key point – it makes you feel great!
If you’ve thought about exploring breathwork…you’re interested in developing your breathing ability…or you’d love to enhance your health and energy levels, try my Introductory Program, “Breathing & Qigong for Health and Energy – 4 Week Introductory Course“. This program will introduce you to a proven health and energy cultivation method impacting body, mind, and spirit. It’s easy to do and only takes a few minutes per day. I personally send you a new lesson each week, but you can learn and enjoy at your own pace. Click here for more details or to order.
You Can Do It!