10 Best Exercises To Increase Lung Capacity August 4, 2016

Did you know that even your lungs need exercise to stay healthy and normally function? The body needs oxygen for its survival. Every activity in the body is dependent on oxygen, including the metabolic functioning of cells.

Lungs perform the task of delivering oxygen to every part of the body, and certain exercises help the lungs in better absorption of oxygen from the air you inhale. This prevents the body from the onset of sickness and ensures each and every part of the body gets adequate oxygen.

So, this post talks about those exercises that can enhance the health of your lungs. Would you like to know the exercises to improve lung capacity? Please go ahead and read!

Exercises To Increase Lung Capacity:

1. Aerobics:

Aerobics exe

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Aerobics plays a significant role in enhancing lung capacity by making large muscle groups move at a rhythmic speed (1). It strengthens your heart and lungs and also plays a role in improving the endurance of the body. Hence, the body will be able to use oxygen more efficiently, and it also can enhance your breathing. You should go daily for long brisk walks. Stationary biking is another type of aerobic exercise that helps improve lung capacity.

[ Read: Best Shoulder Exercises ]

2. Lung Strengthening Exercises:


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Muscle tightening exercises are very good for your upper body and are particularly good for the lungs. These exercises strengthen the muscles that aid in breathing and this, in turn, helps to improve the functioning of your lungs. Even Pilates helps in considerably increasing lung capacity when performed religiously (2).

3. Water-Based Exercises:


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Water workouts lead your body to work harder because water acts as a source of resistance. This helps in strengthening the lungs. You may do weight lifting and stretching exercises in water. A person needs to have a routine till he gets comfortable with exercising in water.

Ensure the water is neck deep while exercising. It is important to take quick breaths because you would feel the compression of your body. This will help in increasing the efficiency of lungs tremendously with regular practice.

4. Cardio Exercise:


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Lung capacity increases manifold with cardio exercises. One needs a minimum of 30 minutes workout. The basic fundamental here lies in the fact that when a person gets tired doing a fast and brisk workout, his lungs have to work harder. This enhances their capacity.

There are many cardiovascular exercises you can do with ease. Some of the best cardio exercises to expand lung capacity are running, jogging, swimming, or you can even hit the gym to work out on heavy machines. Just make sure you warm up and cool down before and after the workout.

[ Read: Exercises To Reduce Belly Fat ]

5. Workout In High Elevation:


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Oxygen content at high altitudes is less, and hence, your lung capacity greatly increases if you workout in such altitudes. You need to start slow, as it is tough to exercise in higher elevations. You need to give your body at least two weeks to acclimatize to the altitude. Ensure you take assistance from a qualified instructor, as unsupervised workout could increase the chances of altitude sickness.

6. Pushing Out:


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Pushing out is a super power breathing exercise that would give your lungs an increased capacity to absorb oxygen.

  1. Take an upright posture and loosen your knees.
  2. Now bend down as you push out all the air from your lungs.
  3. Get back to the standing position, breathing in the air.
  4. Now fill your lungs with as much air as possible and hold your breath as long as you can.
  5. Next, extend your arm over your head and lower back to the starting position while exhaling. Perform this exercise 4 times daily.

7. Rib Stretch:


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This is another exercise to increase lung capacity.

  1. In rib stretch, you have to stand upright, with your back erect and exhale all the oxygen from your lungs.
  2. Now breathe slowly and hold as much air in your lungs as you can.
  3. Hold your breath for 10 to 15 seconds before exhaling slowly.
  4. Perform this exercise three times a day to improve lung capacity.

8. Abdominal Breathing:


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This is a simple exercise where you need to lie down on the back with one hand on the abdomen and the other on the chest.

  1. Now breathe in through the nose, hold your breath and exhale through the mouth.
  2. Try and squeeze your abdominal muscle in the end, so as to remove any residual air from your lungs.
  3. A slight variation of this exercise is the Diaphragmatic breathing, where you lie on your backs with your legs elevated and a pillow beneath. This breathing technique helps increase lung capacity and is also proven beneficial to those suffering from COPD.

9. Oriental Breath:


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Oriental Breath is yet another breathing exercise that helps lungs to work efficiently and optimally.

  1. It starts with simple inhaling and exhaling.
  2. After that, you need to inhale three times through your nose without exhaling.
  3. Once again inhale and raise your arms till shoulder level.
  4. Your arms should rest in front of your body.
  5. Now open your arms as wide as you can and take them overhead (again inhaling).
  6. Finally, exhale as you bring back your arms to the starting position.

10. Numbered Breath:


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  1. Take a deep breath and close your eyes.
  2. Exhale in such a manner that your lungs get empty.
  3. Now inhale again and think of number 1 as you concentrate on breathing.
  4. Hold your breath for a couple of seconds and exhale. Then inhale thinking of number 2 and breathe out within 3 seconds.
  5. Continue with this exercise till number 8. This will enhance your lung capacity.

Numbering or counting on your breath is an easy yet effective way to naturally improve lung function (3).


  1. Ensure your breathing is steady and slow every time you do any breathing exercise. While exhaling, your lungs should be emptied completely.
  2. Always sit upright while performing breathing exercises.
  3. If you can splash some water on your face while doing breathing exercises, it would speed up bradycardia, and the movement of oxygen throughout the body would be easier.
  4. Take necessary precautions while holding your breath. Learn to relax your muscles, especially while doing breathing exercises.
  5. Adjust your body to the surroundings and temperature. This is also known as acclimatizing the body.
  6. Start with small sets and slowly increase the time of the exercise.
  7. Never over exert your body.
  8. Always follow safety precautions, especially during water exercises.

Many people feel they do not need to increase their lung capacity till the time a simple and short exercise like playing with their kids or running with pets tires them and leaves them breathless. However, now they know ways to increase lung capacity and can enjoy their leisure time with loved ones without getting out of breath. Just follow these simple exercises to increase lung capacity and within a couple of days you will notice a major change. With enhanced lung capacity, fatigue will not strike you down that easily while exercising or playing with your kids.

Also, let us know how this post has helped you! Share your feedback by commenting in the box below!

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