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How to Expand Your Lung Capacity

By Brian Richards

Lung capacity is important for athletes, musicians and individuals recovering from respiratory illness. Depending on your fitness level, you may use several different exercises to expand your lungs. You can perform lung exercises daily, but as with any exercise, do not push yourself too far beyond your comfort level. Overworking your lungs may result in shortness of breath, dizziness or loss of consciousness. Consult your doctor before beginning a lung capacity workout.

Sit upright in a comfortable chair without touching the backrest. Place both hands on your chest and abdomen to feel them rise and fall as you breathe in and out.

Breathe in as deeply as you can, feeling your abdomen rise as your lungs fill with air. Time your breaths so you are breathing in for three seconds, holding your breath for two seconds, then breathing out for three seconds. Repeat this process for 20 breaths.

Breathe in as deeply as you can, this time feeling your chest rise as your lungs fill with air. Focus on expanding your chest rather than expanding your abdomen as you breathe in. Time your breaths so that you are breathing in for three seconds, holding your breath for two seconds, then breathing out for three seconds. Repeat this process for 20 breaths.

Inhale by first concentrating on expanding your abdomen, then continue inhaling while concentrating on expanding your chest. Hold this breath for two seconds, then exhale, concentrating on emptying your chest first, then your abdomen. Continue this process for 20 breaths.

Inhale deeply to fill your lungs completely, then exhale the full contents of your lungs into your empty balloon. You do not need to blow up the balloon all the way; focus on blowing as much air as you can into it with a single breath. The resistance of the balloon will help you strengthen and expand your lungs.

Tips

Make the balloon exercise more difficult by pinching the neck of the balloon tighter as you inflate it. This will give you a smaller area through which to blow air, increasing the resistance.

Replace your balloon periodically as the balloon will gradually become easier to inflate as the rubber stretches.

If you do not have access to an empty balloon, hold your lips tightly together and exhale as if you were blowing up a balloon.

Warnings

If you begin to feel dizzy at any point during your lung exercises, stop immediately.

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