June 15, 2010

Oh, My Lung Capacity!

Some of us call it 'mengah', and some of us even call it 'pancit' or 'kaput'. So what are they actually? It's all related to fitness and fitness can be both 'natural' or 'developed'. Although physical fitness can be generally achieved through exercise, proper nutrition and enough rest, there is another component that is greatly associated with fitness - The Lung Capacity, which the one that I'm going to emphasize more in this very blog entry.

Lung volumes and lung capacities refer to the volume of air associated with different phases of the respiratory cycle. Lung volumes are directly measured while lung capacities are inferred from lung volumes. The average total lung capacity of an adult human male is about 6 litres of air, but only a small amount of this capacity is used during normal breathing. An average human breathes some 12-20 times per minute.

Think Lung Capacity as an engine's capacity of a car. Of course, Mazda or Mercedez Benz can 'perform' better than Kancil or Viva.

Few factors that affect Lung Capacity include height (taller person has higher lung capacity than shorter person), and the altitude of the place of where you live. A person who is born and lives at sea level will develop a slightly smaller lung capacity than a person who spends their life at a higher altitude.

You might ask, "Is it possible to increase my lung capacity? and if so, how?"

Other than doing cardiovascular orientated exercise atleast 3 times per week, I believe the following simple tips may guide you to increase your overall lung capacity.

1 - Do challenging cardiovascular activities
Adopt different cardio intensities in your training. Start slowly and work your way to more intense cardio (depending on your goal). Interval runs could help, seriously, but it has to be progressive.

2 - Train at higher altitudes
When someone from sea level goes to a higher elevation, they often develop altitude sickness since their lungs cannot process enough oxygen for their body's needs. Some athletes (runners) who are training prior to competition/marathon will train for certain period of time at higher altitudes in order to increase their lung capacity, because there is less pressure from the atmosphere. Once they come down to sea level, they will have a TEMPORARY larger overall lung capacity (later, the lung capacity will go back to it's original volume, adapted to the person's current atmosphere).

3 - Don't Smoke
Does this point make sense? Yes, it is.

Do you think you can follow these simple tricks? Oh, My Lung Capacity! (Looking forward to do some cardios this weekend after leaving them for almost a month. Haihh.. minggu kenduri la katakan..)

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rashid said...

Sometime when I rarely exercise, I feel hard to breath when doing swimming or running, maybe my lung capacity need improvement, but it take time right..

Joy Kalonas said...

Rashid, Lung capacity is one thing. Another thing that affect your overall fitness are lifestyle and nutrition. Focusing those two is just enough to improve your average fitness. Though it will be a great advantage to have a larger lung capacity (you are one level up than other average people), and you are right, building fitness takes time.. Good Luck ;)

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