Ifyou were asked what you need for running you would have no doubt: your legs and feet, and possibly good shoes on your feet. What we often forget is that running also and especially requires lungs. In fact, it is no coincidence that all specific workouts to increase speed and endurance focus precisely on improving lung and heart capacity.
Like other organs in our body, the lungs also lose efficiency over time. It is estimated that between the ages of 30 and 50, about 15 percent of lung capacity is lost, and by age 80, 30 percent is compromised.
However, something can be done to slow and limit the trend of deteriorating lung efficiency. In fact, not just something: you can do as many as five things.
1. Zone 2 cardio
When you exercise (when you run,yes!) do some sessions in Zone 2, that is, maintaining a pace and effort level that still allows you to talk. Typically this type of exertion translates in percentage terms to about 70 percent of fcmax, which is your maximum heart rate.
Otherwise known as High Intensity Interval Training. Earlier we talked about Zone 2 and moderate effort intensity. In the case of HIIT we go to the max: this type of training is very intense and requires great effort, but it is limited in time, as it typically lasts from a few minutes to 8-10 minutes. However, it is performed overthreshold, that is, near the maximum heart rate.
3. Hold your breath
Remember we were talking about “lung capacity”? Capacity indicates the volume of air they can take in. How to increase this “space”? By holding your breath, so as to increase the elasticity of the inner walls of the lungs, which will then be able to hold more air.
How to do it? The exercise is very simple: while sitting, breathe for about two minutes and then hold your breath as long as you can. Repeat.
4. Nasal breathing
You can breathe with your mouth or nose (or both) but it is good to get used to doing it mainly with your nose, at least in the resting phase. In fact, the nose has allows us to filter and “clean” the air we inhale that ends up in the lungs. It is clear that you can do this especially when you are not particularly exerting yourself because, as exertion increases, so does the demand for oxygen from the lungs, and therefore it is necessary to breathe through the mouth as well.
Inhaled air also is better humidified than that which passes through the oral cavity, and thus carries an essential component for increasing the elasticity of lung tissue: liquid air.
Have you ever paid attention to how you sit? If your job involves a sedentary set-up, it is likely that, after a while, your shoulders will arch and your back will curve. Instead, to allow the lungs to expand as much as possible, the rib cage must be enlarged, and this is done by opening the shoulders as wide as possible and not arching the back, whether sitting or standing.
In short, always put your lungs in the best condition to receive as much air as possible. And to retain this ability as long as possible.
(via Dan Go)