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Medical How to increase the vital capacity of my lung?

  1. Sep 15, 2007 #1
    I know working out will certainly help....as well as meditation. But what else? Is there a certain yoga, tai chi,etc. or exercise which will benefit the most?
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  3. Sep 15, 2007 #2


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    No. I'm pretty sure that only aerobic exercise will increase your V[O2] uptake and lung capacity. Meditation and Yoga and Tai Chi will help your flexibility and lower your heart rate, but I doubt they can have any measurable direct effect on your V[O2] uptake. Do you have a pointer to reputable published papers that claim otherwise?
  4. Sep 15, 2007 #3


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    What does one mean by vital lung capacity? Does one mean to increase the volume inhaled?

    Two factors to consider - cardio-pulmonary efficiency and lung capacity.

    Do aerobic exercise to do this - and that means running steadily with occasional bursts of sprinting. Sprinters do it by wind sprints.


    One method I learned form a group of sprinters was to run a circuit on a 500m or 440 yd (437 m) track (1/8 mile), in which one sprints 100 m (100 yd) straight sections and walks the curves (ends). Do so for 5-6 laps (one lap = once around the track), and work up to 8 laps.

    Also one can do deep inhalation exercise to stretch the abdominal muscles and diaphragm.
  5. Sep 15, 2007 #4
    But I don't know if forcing your lungs by sprinters is a healthy way to do it.
  6. Sep 15, 2007 #5
    Back in the day when I was a long distance runner and cyclist, we would do just what astronuc pointed out. These wind sprints will increase your ability to use O2 plus increase the volumetric efficiency of your lungs.

    I'm sure that relaxation exercizes involving deep breathing will also help.

    Also be sure to stay as far away as possible from any air polution or allergens or airborne irritants as possible. In other words...fresh air.

  7. Sep 15, 2007 #6


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    Skhandelwal, I don't know what the motivation for your question is. If it's a basic fitness programme or something specific to one of your pasttimes, then I fully agree with the others.
    I have the same interest, but for a different reason. With my fairly advanced emphyzema, I often am out of breath to the point of pain just from walking the 2 blocks to and from work pulling my laptop on a little luggage cart because I can't carry it any more. In my situation, I'm supposed to avoid any kind of excercise, but I choose to walk anyhow because it's the only way to maintain any kind of fitness. Deep-breathing (or as deep as can be attained by someone with ratched lungs) is very helpful and soothing to me. It's also easier to breathe in moderately cold air, because there's a higher density of 'intake charge' (to use an automotive term).
  8. Sep 15, 2007 #7


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    That and deep breathing are the only ways to do it.

    To deep breath, lean forward slightly (one can put hands on the foreleg just above the knees for support), and then inhale with the diaphragm. Breathe in and even take small short breathes to stretch the diaphragm and abdominal wall. Hold the breath a stand up and lean slightly back to stretch the abdominal wall (try not to fall backward). Then lean forward, stand vertical and exhale, and exhale to empty the lungs. Then repeat 5 or 6, or even 10 times.
  9. Sep 17, 2007 #8
    So you are saying that even though sprinters aren't healthy, they are a very accelerated measurement for performance?
  10. Sep 17, 2007 #9


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    No! Sprinters are healthy precisely because they do the running and conditioning needed to enhance performance. Sprinters, cyclists and swimmers, have great cardio-pulmonary efficiency and performance. Athletes in general have better health, with the exception of injuries related to pushing themselves beyond capability or engaging in contact sports like US football.

    IIRC, it was recently pointed out that cyclists in the Tour de France have hearts which are slightly larger than the heart of an average person. The larger heart is necessary for the grueling performance they must achieve.
  11. Oct 18, 2007 #10


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    This is questionable in my opinion.

    I could be wrong, but I do believe steroids and other similiar sport enhancement drugs increase the size of the heart. Now, since drugs are a big part of Tour De France (sponsors are currently DROPPING out), I would assume that it's not the exercise nor training that resulted in a larger heart, but merely the use of drugs.

    i.e. That means Lance Armstrong would be among them. As an American hero it has to be said, the likelihood that he took drugs while training and competing for the Tour De France is the same as any other racer. Regardless of all the testings they've done, it doesn't matter. New drugs don't have methods of being traced and can take years before they figure it out.
  12. Oct 19, 2007 #11


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    It could be both. However, the term "larger heart" doesn't mean a lot to me. The heart can be enlarged because the muscle has become stronger, or it can be enlarged due to a pathological condition that means it is weaker, or trying to overcome increased resistance due to an occlusion elsewhere.

    The "vital capacity" of the lung refers to a specific parameter, that of the total gas exchange during a single breath. This is the sum of the tidal volume, the inspiratory reserve volume, and the expiratory reserve volume.

    There will be limits on this, based on the size of your lungs, age, etc., but good aerobic fitness can maximize this for you. Of course, one should always consult a physician if there is any concern that their breathing is not normal. For example, this may be reduced in an asthmatic, and bronchodilators required to improve respiratory function.
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