If you want to become a better runner, this article will show you how to improve lung capacity in order to run faster and longer.
I bet that every time you’ve signed up to run a marathon and wanted to quit after the first 5 minutes, you’ve complained about your lung capacity. Or you’ve got a fancy gym membership and running on the treadmill has suddenly become a sweaty and exhausting affair. Or you’ve noticed that whenever you run, you’re out of breath even before your legs get tired.
In all the above cases, it’s your lung capacity that is to blame, but please don’t sweat it out. With patience and persistence, you can increase your lung capacity to run faster and longer, effortlessly. Just follow these tips below.
The important thing to realize is that Rome wasn’t built in a day. To improve your lung capacity you have to firstly improve your breathing habits and breathe more energetically and efficiently. Secondly, you have to include a lot of cardio in your workout regimen, preferably short spurts of intense activity. And thirdly, as your main goal, is to run faster and longer, you have to incorporate suitable running and walking exercises in your daily work out routine.
Finally, you can supplement your fitness plan with other activities as well as use certain gadgets to optimize your training. So read on and find out the best way for you to improve lung capacity!
1. Give up Smoking, Forever
No matter how much you exercise, or do yoga or claim to have otherwise healthy habits, nothing’s going to change if you have a habit of smoking cigarettes. Not only does smoking decrease your lung capacity, it brings along a wake of diseases that can fill a page. So if you want to increase your lung capacity and you smoke, you know what you have to do at the very outset to make a change.
2. Train At Higher Altitudes
If you’re serious about increasing your lung capacity, it’s time you had a change of location. At higher altitudes, the oxygen is less, which means you have to work out twice as hard but the results are truly worth it.
Consider taking a break from work and going on a ‘fitness vacation’ to a hill station. Or you can research on the local mountaineering clubs in your city, and sign up for rock climbing and trekking activates.
3. Do Breathing Exercises
No, you don’t need to be a pro at meditation or do yoga. There’s a huge variety of breathing exercises and you can just Google them to find one that works for you. Try setting out a fixed time, of five or 10 minutes to practice deep breathing. Alternatively, you can try fun things like blowing up a balloon, or even hyperventilating.
Here’s an easy idea that you can do right now to improve your lung capacity: breathe in for 2-20 seconds and out for 10-20 seconds. Slowly, increase your rate of breathing and you may even surprise yourself.
4. Make It A Habit
Yes, practice makes perfect. If you want to run faster and longer, you literally have to run faster and longer. Which means, not hitting the snooze button and hitting the park or treadmill every day on time. At first, take it slow. Set baby goals. But once you start getting into shape, stick to it. You can also download an app, that keeps track of the number of steps taken per day and the distance covered.
Make it a point to cover a fixed number of miles every day. You can also incorporate walking in your routine by minimizing the use of transport and taking the stairs instead of the comfortable elevator.
5. Use Respiratory Training Equipment
If you’re training to be a professional athlete, you may want to take your pick from the variety of respiratory training equipment out there in the market. There are breathing masks that force your diaphragm to work harder, and there are snorkeling tubes that are very easy to carry. Ask your fitness trainer if you need help choosing the one that’s right for you.
6. Keep A Heart Rate Monitor Handy
So to increase your lung capacity, you need a heart rate monitor to actually tell you if a particular exercise is working or not. Also there are times when working out, that you may overexert yourself in which case the little gadget can give you a warning.
7. Make Swimming A Priority
If you can’t migrate to the hills for a short while, you can definitely hit the beach or the local swimming pool. A swimmer’s lungs can in fact utilize oxygen almost three times better than the average non-swimmer. Moreover you get plenty of cardiovascular activity. If you can’t swim every day, try to do it at least 3-4 times a week, for at least 1-2 hours.
If you want to take it to the next level, try exercising in water. Even activities such as weight lifting and stretching can be performed in water and improve your lung capacity.
8. Try Intense Aerobics
Schedule at least 30 minutes of heavy aerobics every day for your cardiovascular fitness. Do aerobic exercises in short intervals and that will definitely pay off the next time you run a marathon or race your friends to the bar. You may also want to check out aerobic dance or aerobic gymnastics if they suit your fancy. Make sure your routine includes warm ups, cardio training, jumping rope, muscular flexing, a gradual cooling down and basic starching.
9. Cycle More And Often
Cycling is fun, eco-friendly and very very useful. Whether it’s a trip to the local grocery store or somewhere farther, including a daily dose of cycling in your workout regimen will pay off. Try to choose steep or elevated routes as that will encourage your heart to pump faster and harder. And yes, cycling is better than walking to lose weight. Also as per a study, if you’re an active cycler, your chances of developing high blood pressure are cut down by 31%
10. Learn To Play A Wind Instrument
Yes, if you’re one of those who hate the sound of the word ‘exercise’, learning to play an instrument is your best way to improve lung capacity. Choose a woodwind or brass instrument such as the saxophone, flute, trumpet, clarinet or even the tuba. You can also enlist in a marching band. Learning to play an instrument will also do wonders for your IQ and general well-being. Alternatively, you can take lessons in singing as it will help to develop stronger lungs and also keep you in a merry mood.
Of course you don’t have to follow ALL of these tips. Pick and choose the ones that seem most feasible- depending on your location, needs and budget. Also, do keep in mind that exercise and diet go hand in hand. If you want to run faster and longer, you got to be eating healthy as well. That means burning way more calories than you’re actually consuming and cutting down on junk food and anything that’s high on fat.
And remember, if you’re going to make some drastic changes to your exercise regimen, it’s best to consult a physician first. Also, if you suffer from asthma or any health disorder, clarify your diet and exercise routine with your doctor, before trying out anything. However, ultimately it’s your body and if a particular method works, stick to it. Remember that baby steps are okay at first and not everyone improves at the same rate. Be patient and remain positive. Happy running!
Which tricks have you used to improve lung capacity?