For over 20 year now medical science has understood that the amount of volume an individual’s lung’s hold is indicative of their longevity. The specific data revealed in the Framingham Heart Study said that “the larger your lungs are the longer life span you will have” – I’m paraphrasing but you get it the point. The report was providing data regarding the normal health of lungs.
In order to calculate person’s lung capacity, Health technicians utilize an instrument known as a spirometer. The median person can accommodate about five liters of air in their lungs. I recently came to light that Gant Hacket, an Aussie swimmer and a global superstar can hold an amazing thirteen liters of air in his lungs. The numbers will vary according to certain factors such as height and weight, sex and age down to the quantity of physical activity undertaken. Most females will likely have twenty to twenty five percent reduced lung volume from men and the taller f our population has more than short statured people.
Regrettably, the volume of our lungs will never be able to be elevated in the physical sense, but there are a number of ways to increase the effectual nature of the lungs and thwart any loss of capacity as you grow older.
Cardio Physical training
When you give your body a great physical workout you are also working out your lungs and keeping the respiratory system fit. It is actually quite easy to develop a stronger lung volume when you train by utilizing the big muscles of your body in a cadenced fashion. Continuous motion activities will normally elevate the requirement for oxygen and that means your lungs will be demanding their quota as well. When the heart and lungs are tested, your lung volume will be raised to meet the challenge.
Often high performance athletes such as runners will take their training to a new level – above sea level that is. Working out at a high altitude is a common tactic for some athletes who then compete at lower levels but their high altitude training means it will not be optimum. There will be less oxygen to breathe during exercise and at an altitude of eight thousand feet above sea level the oxygen availability is cut to seventy four percent of normal due to atmospheric pressure being lower.
The athlete’s body becomes accustomed to this diminished oxygen quantity and elevates the amount of red blood cells and hemoglobin. When back at normal altitudes athletes will boast a superior lung capacity for upwards of two weeks due to higher levels of red blood cells. There is however a caveat to this type of training. It is not uncommon for those training at these heights to contract altitude sickness since the lungs do not produce the required oxygen for normal physiological requirements.
Inhale – Exhale Training
For us non high performance athletes we can still have better lung volume by practicing some simple breathing exercises and we can enhance our well being while we are at it. The kind of breathing utilized in yoga exercises will rejuvenate our bodies, bring relaxation and improve our focus while alleviating stress. It is now medical fact that good breathing methods can be a powerful tactic to sooth our central nervous systems, lower our heart rate, help sleeplessness, reduce or even eradicate pain.
Pursed lip breathing can also be used to better our lung capabilities prior to commencing any exercises. This just takes ten minutes to do. When you initially do this procedure practice it while lying flat on your bed and resting your head on a pillow. In time, you can use the procedure if you are walking or taking part in physical activity that might mean you need additional wind.
To begin with, inhale through your nose, allowing the abdomen to stretch out which will lower the diaphragm letting the lungs load with air. Now exhale back out your mouth while your lips are squeezed like you are giving a quick kiss, making a hissing noise while doing so. Your exhale should take double the time as inhaling does and you should feel pressure in your chest and wind pipe as the air is forced out.
Holding your breath and coughing is yet one more way to improve lung function. You inhale deep and slow, holding your air for up to ten seconds. When you expel the air from your lungs you should gently cough.
Learn To Play Wind Instrument
When you play a wind instrument like the trumpet, tuba trombone, bagpipes, saxophone or clarinet there is no question you will feel the effect on your lung capacity. You are forced to acquire control of your breathing while expanding lung volume to use each and every alveoli. Learning how to use your diaphragm is a technique that calls for practice but it gradually raises lung volume higher. When you sing you can expect the same results.
Healthy Diet And Supplementation
Numerous studies conducted have displayed evidence supporting that a diet heavily laden with antioxidants like Vitamins C and E, selenium and beta carotene will develop better lung function and even safeguard against the harm caused from COPD in smokers. A specific investigation showed that these foods offered protection only while consumed during the period of smoking. Foods with antioxidants are those fruits and veggies with a dark colored hue have vitamin C and beta carotene, whole grains and nuts contain selenium while vegetable oils and wheat germ harbor vitamin E.
You may have heard the phrase “a colorful plate”, A French health investigation concluded that when we load up our plates with bright, beta carotene laden foods we are better able to fight normal lung ailments. Beta carotene is a primary element that is found in various fruits and vegetables such as mangos, carrots, peppers, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes and apricots. All have bright yellow, orange or reddish tones and all loaded with antioxidants. During the 8 year evaluation, individuals with the most elevated levels of beta carotene lost the slightest amount of lung utility. Beta carotene is a formidable combatant against particular types of free radicals that focus on the lungs. Remember your beta carotene for healthy and more youth like lung utilization. Amazingly, the study pointed out that heavy smokers also benefit dramatically from beta carotene and vitamin E.
Lung Volume Hurt By Inflammation
A few years ago a number of researchers from a prominent New Zealand University calculated the lung volume and inflammation in young adults aged from twenty six to thirty two years old. Inflammation was calculated by observing the blood levels of C-reactive protein [or CRP], a marker of inflammation. Inflammation is also related to higher odds of contracting cardiovascular disease.
They observed high levels of CRP in people with reduced lung volumes. The connection between elevated CRP and reduced lung capacity was not due to smoking, lung conditions or even obesity. The researchers stated that to their understanding, theirs was the initial report of an inverse link with lung volume and CRP in younger people. The link with inefficient lung capacity and cardiovascular illness might be linked to inflammation. They now attempted to determine whether inflammation led to reduced lung abilities or the other way around. Still. Different studies have now displayed that foods with high amounts of antioxidants safeguard against lowered lung volumes. Once more the proof shows that healthy food consumption can slow down the aging process.
Statins lessen Function loss Keeping Old Lungs Young
Statins are a good method of reducing cholesterol in people and have now shown a further advantage. Statins seem to slow functional diminishing of lungs, even in smokers. Based on evidence garnered by researchers in Boston, it could be the anti-inflammatory response of the statins along with their antioxidant behavior that results in this result.
Dr. Joel Schwartz, PhD, professor of environmental epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health was the primary researcher involved in the link between statins and lung volume loss. The connection between how the lungs are working and death rates and the reduction of lung volumes in the geriatric age groups shows the significance of possibly lowering the decline rate.
While studying the use of statins and their impact on loss of lung volume, investigators utilized information from continuing and longitudinal Veterans Administration Normative Aging Study that had commenced in 1963. They evaluated 803 individuals, whose lung volumes were calculated no less than twice from January, 1995 to June, 2005. Testing for expulsion volumes in one second [FEV1] and forced vital capacity [FVC] were calculated. The participants in the study also filled out surveys on pulmonary conditions. Smoking and any medicine they used.
Researchers noticed that persons taking statins had a far less annual loss of lung capability. In FEV1, statin consumers lost 10.9 milliliters on average, though non consumers lost about 23.9 milliliters yearly or more than double that from the group using statin. Likewise, statin consumers were on average losing 14 milliliters each year in FVC, while non consumers lost about 36.2 milliliters.
The study clearly states that statins’ encompass the capability to lower inflammation and smoking induced harm found in the lungs, and also reduces serum levels of C-reactive protein, as it relates to active system inflammation, as well as safeguarding from oxidative harm. All this can be interpreted to mean a general defense against losing lung capacity and the importance of lung volume to one’s longevity.