Strengthening your lungs so you'll have more endurance when you're working out is a process that doesn't happen overnight. You can do a variety of exercises and activities to help increase your lung capacity and make your lungs stronger, but all of these methods will take time and persistence. If you're experiencing problems with shortness of breath and other breathing difficulties, see a doctor before you try any of these methods.
Poor breathing habits can reduce the oxygen levels in your blood, making you less alert and more fatigued. If you have poor posture, this can also lead to your developing shallow breathing that makes you sluggish and can hurt your health. One technique that can quickly improve your breathing involves lying on your back, with small pillows under your neck and and knees. Put your hands on your stomach, middle fingers just touching, palms down, and breathe in slowly and deeply. As your fingers separate, you'll be taking a true deep breath. Do this technique for five minutes every day in order to help your body learn how to breathe deeply from your belly.
Cardio exercises, such as biking, can improve your lung strength in just a few weeks. Ben Greenfield, a certified weight loss and fitness coach, suggests warming up first by pedaling at a slow, easy pace. Then do interval biking, which involves 30 seconds of hard biking, followed by one minute of rest, five times. Next, pedal as hard as you can for three to five minutes, then rest for three to five minutes, and repeat three to five times. Cool down until your breathing returns to normal. This type of interval training will quickly strengthen your lungs.
When you're almost fully submerged in water, your lung capacity may be cut by as much as 75 percent. Regularly exercising in water will strengthen your lungs and teach your body to breathe more efficiently. One exercise you can do is to stand in water, submerged up to your neck, and do weight-lifting exercises and even stretching. You can also try jogging in place. Swimming will help, too.
Exercises that involve adding resistance to your breathing can help your lungs learn how to hold on to air for a longer period of time, while also strengthening your lung muscles. One way to achieve this is simply by practicing inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Or you can add even more resistance by holding your lips close together, allowing only a little bit of breath to escape at a time when you exhale. Check with your doctor before trying any type of resistance breathing.
- Photo Credit Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images