Coronavirus Recovery: Breathing Exercises
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 attacks the lungs and respiratory system, sometimes resulting in significant damage. COVID-19 often leads to pneumonia and even acute respiratory distress syndrome , a severe lung injury. Recovering lung function is possible but can require therapy and exercises for months after the infection is treated.
Working toward recovery starts simple: with a focus on breathing, says Johns Hopkins physical therapist Peiting Lien. She offers a series of breathing exercises to aid in recovery for those who had COVID-19 or another serious illness.
How Do Your Lungs Work
Every cell in our body needs oxygen to function optimally. The air we take in when we breathe provides this oxygen, and the oxygen exchange happens in our lungs. Our lung capacity is six liters, though we only breathe in about half a liter of air in every breath. When breathing mindfully we can take this up to three liters.
Breathing capacity starts declining at age 35. It happens for multiple reasons, including losing bone density, which makes the ribcage smaller, limiting lung expansion. Even our diaphragm gets weaker with age, reducing how much air we can take in when we inhale. That is another reason why breathing or recovering from respiratory infections becomes more difficult as we age.
Yoga And Pilates The Theory
Theres more to yoga and pilates than just breathing, and many, like time-trialler Helen Gorman , have found them benecial for strength or injury rehabilitation. But some believe there may be a performance benet simply by learning slow breathing, something yoga and pilates emphasise.
This is because of the Bohr effect, says Pullan. When carbon dioxide levels are raised, red blood cells release oxygen better. By slowing down your breathing, you retain carbon dioxide, meaning more oxygen is released.
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Easy Ways To Improve Your Lung Health
The lungs provide the body with life-giving oxygen on a moment-by-moment basis while expelling carbon dioxide waste along the way. Considering how essential these tasks are, its no surprise that the health of the body as a whole suffers when chronic lung problems develop. Lung exercises provide ways to help your lungs become more efficient at managing airflow and oxygen levels. Here are five easy ways to improve your lung health along with a brief overview of how your lungs work.
Here Are Five Breathing Exercises You Can Do At Any Time Of The Day And In Any Comfortable Space
New Delhi: While India continues to gasp for breath due to an extreme shortage of oxygen supply, it has become important to be vigilant by staying at home and keeping healthy and fit. We need to strengthen our lungs more than ever, as the COVID-19 virus impacts our respiratory system severely.Also Read – A Flu And Pneumonia Jab May Reduce Your Risk of Heart Failure, All You Need to Know
Breathing exercises are a great way to develop the lungs as they improve lung muscles, clear out any secretion and increase the capacity by supplying an adequate amount of oxygen. There are several other benefits to these exercises as well! It also helps us stay calmer, and de-stress especially in these unprecedented times we are living in. Also Read – Explained: Why You Might Not Need ‘Boosters’ After COVID-19 Vaccination
Jyoti Dabas, Founder & CEO of the Institute of Nutrition and Fitness Sciences shares five easy-to-do breathing exercises that you can do. Also Read – 3 Superfoods You Must Eat While Working From Home, Nutritionist Recommends
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How To Increase Lung Capacity Or Your Tidal Volume
Breathing methods that can help you improve your lung capacity includes diaphragmatic breathing and pursed lip breathing. Other breathing techniques available are 4-7-8 breathing and square breathing. Take a look at the box breathing benefits. There you will see the additional benefits that these breathing exercises provide. All of these will improve your total tidal volume and lung function, with bonus benefits being reduced stress, anxiety, and better sleep.
Tidal volume is the volume of each breath measured during an entire respiratory cycle. A persons tidal volume is calculated based on height and weight.
Besides tidal capacity, when referring to lung volume and capacity we also have what is called vital capacity. This refers to the total amount of air a person can exhale from their lungs in one breath. If you put force behind the exhalation, you are creating what is called forced vital capacity, also known as FVC. To measure this and tidal volume experts use a test called spirometry1 which measures the air volume transferred. The same tool is used to diagnose conditions as asthma and COPD2.
Practicing any of these techniques over a period will see you improve your total lung capacity, and with it, your ability to hold your breath for a longer period when needed. Using these techniques comes with additional benefits besides improving your ability to hold your breath; in addition to the positive effects mention above, they will also help improve your lung function.
Limitations Of The Study
We have recruited CAD patients irrespective of their gender so the differences on the basis of gender have not been seen in this study. Cardiovascular parameters such as HR, SBP, DBP, and MBP were recorded before and after intervention but the correlation between respiratory and cardiovascular parameters were not done in this study.
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How To Breathe At High Altitudes
On high alpine hikes, you will encounter thinner air pressure which makes it more difficult for your lungs to take in oxygen since the air pressure inside your body is higher than it is outside. I couldnt believe the effects when I was on my Everest Basecamp Trek last year way up at 18,000 feet. Even when hiking above 8,000 feet I notice myself getting out of breath more quickly than normal.
To combat the challenges of high altitude, breathe slowly and deeply to decrease your heart rate and help your body to take in the oxygen it needs. Try to pace your stride with the slow rhythm of your breath and if you really feel like youre struggling for air, slow down the pace.
Have you improved your hiking lung capacity? What advice do you have for others?
Get Plenty Of Variety
When youre trying to implement a body transformation, one of the biggest challenges is keeping your motivation up. After a week or two, chances are youre going to want to let your workout slide. In many cases, going through the same workout routine day after day can make it that much harder to stay motivated.
But yoga keeps things fresh every time you come back to the mat. No two practices are alike, even for the same person, and you can tailor your practice to meet your needs that day. If you had a frustrating day, you can pick more;ashtanga yoga poses, or if you need something soothing, you can stick to gentler flows.
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Yogic Breathing For Better Lung Capacity
Breathing exercises are a very effective way to keep the lungs healthy and improve our breathing capacity. While regularly practicing deep breathing is great for our overall physical and mental health, it has become especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The novel coronavirus primarily attacks the lungs and our respiratory system, resulting in breathing problems and in severe cases, pneumonia. Keeping our lungs strong and healthy is a good way to prepare ourselves for the pandemic and to find more confidence in our bodies ability to heal.
Breathing Exercises To Strengthen Lungs During Covid 19
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Our lungs are very sensitive and despite being internal organs, they are continuously exposed to our external environment with every breath that we take. This makes them vulnerable to dust, pollution as well as respiratory infections and we need to protect them by practicing good hygiene. And even in a yogic sense, the lungs are the primary organs that help us control and enhance “Prana” or universal life-giving energy. That is why breathing exercises in Yoga are called Pranayama. These methods improve overall health, giving us greater vitality, managing stress and enhancing our immunity. In today’s times, Pranayama practices have become especially relevant as COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that attacks our lungs. Therefore, along with diligently practicing preventive measures like washing our hands, wearing a mask, and social distancing, we also need to work on interventions that can keep the lungs healthy and strong.
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Age Affects Lung Capacity
From our mid 20s and forward, our lung capacity will slowly start to decline, and this will only get worse the older we get. Medical conditions such as asthma or COPD could speed up this process.
Luckily, there are breathing techniques out there that can help you. Not only to breathe better but also to increase your total lung capacity if that is your main objective. The good thing here is that it does not matter if you are 20 years old or 60 years old; it is never too late to start practicing any of these techniques. Even better, they are not difficult, as anyone can do it and you will see results fairly swiftly.
Pranayama Shield Your Lung Damage
A most frightening impact of the Covid-19 is its potential to damage the alveolar cells of the lungs 7. The cells that are responsible for oxygenating your blood. Our lungs have a sufficient bit of spare inactive alveolar cells.
Controlled breathing of pranayama will help you unlock and activate the dormant alveolar cells, to substitute the damaged ones. This will help ease your falling oxygen levels and give your immunity system the time to fight back. Even as a preventive measure, an increased force of alveolar cells will keep you better prepared to fight the infection.
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Yoga Poses For Healthy Lungs
- I November 26, 2019
Breathing in yoga takes high priority. According to yoga, breath or prana is the life force or the primary energy of life. It is the basic life force that controls our life. It is said to be the master form of all energy at every level of being. The breathing exercises in yoga can strengthen our life energy and our health. Practicing yoga can be one of the best ways to keep your lungs and body healthy.
The daily practice of yoga can help in strengthening the muscles of the chest, increase lung capacity and boost oxygen intake. Yoga can help in keeping your lungs healthy and strong thereby improving your breathing and oxygen intake. Pranayama and other yogic postures can help in activating the air-cells of the lungs and strengthen the lungs.
Pranayama or yogic breathing involves abdominal, thoracic and clavicular breathing which helps in gaining control of your breath, correct poor breathing habits and increase oxygen intake. The standing asanas can strengthen the back muscles and increase oxygenation and lung capacity. Here are four yoga poses you can try to improve the health and functioning of your lungs.
Yoga Breathing Exercise That Increase Vital Lung Capacity
Humming exercises are also thought to increase the vital capacity of the lungs which is the maximum air that can be expelled from the lungs . Some schools of thought describe humming to be a sonic cleanser, curing infections of the respiratory tract.;
Pranayama which is a set of yoga breathing exercises has been used extensively to help enhance and support breathing in those with COVID related mild breathing difficulties and in particular after discharge and during the rehabilitation phase.; Pranayama mainly includes more than 10 types of breathing techniques such as divergent breathing and backward-shifting breathing.
Those practicing and teaching these techniques believe in the principle that internal breathing methods can increase the amount of oxygen in the lungs bringing about significant outcomes within the body. They work on the basis that certain breathing techniques can nourish the organs .
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Deep Breathing With Increasing Counts
When it comes to improving lung capacity, blood flow and eliminating stress and anxiety, this remains the most accessible and most influential yoga breathing exercise. (Difficulty sleeping, relaxing, or anxiety issues? Check this out. Deep breathing exercise also helps improve immunity.
- Sit in a relaxed position. You could also cross your legs to aid concentration.
- Take deep breaths and give a time frame to your inhalation and exhalation .
- With each breath, increase the count. You can go up to a 2 to 5 min duration.
Nadi Shodhan Pranayama / Alternate Nostril Breathing
Practicing Nadishodhan pranayama can release accumulated stress and help the body to relax. Its proved to be therapeutic for most respiratory problems and to improve lung function in asthma patients. This is one of the best for patients with breathing trouble.
Steps to do:
- Sit comfortably with your spine straight and shoulders relaxed.
- Place your left hand on the left knee, and palms open to the sky.
- Place the tip of the index finger and middle finger of the right hand in between the eyebrows, the ring finger and little finger on the left nostril, and the thumb on the right nostril.
- Use your right thumb to close the right nostril and exhale gently through the left nostril.
- Now keeping the right nostril closed inhale through the left nostril and then press the left nostril gently with the ring finger and little finger. Removing the right thumb from the right nostril, breathe out from the right.
- Breathe in from the right nostril and exhale from the left.
- Continue inhaling and exhaling from alternate nostrils.
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The Nuts And Bolts Of Lung Health Lung Function Vs Lung Capacity
The lungs have a two-fold job of delivering oxygen to the bloodstream while removing carbon dioxide from the body. Every cell in the body draws oxygen from the blood and deposits carbon dioxide as waste into the bloodstream. For people living with chronic lung diseases, such as pulmonary fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , the lungs have difficulty supplying the body with needed amounts of oxygen.
Lung function and lung capacity determine how efficiently the lungs deliver oxygen and get rid of carbon dioxide. Lung capacity indicates how much air your lungs can hold. It also affects how quickly air moves in and out of your lungs. Your level of lung function also determines how well the lungs deliver oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the bloodstream.
Lung function has to do with how efficiently the body uses the oxygen it receives. Whereas lung capacity can be improved, lung function cannot. This means improving your lung health is about improving your lung capacity. Lung exercises are designed to help the body make better use of available oxygen supplies. Here are a handful of easy exercises you can do to improve your lung health and make breathing easier.
How To Improve Your Lung Capacity:
- Each morning, wake up and move for 20 minutes. Train yourself to breath through your nose. If your nose is blocked with mucus, start with mouth inhale/ and exhale through mouth and nose. Eventually the mucus will break up. You can also use Sinus Lube to break up the mucus. Start your exercise gentle enough for nose breathing. Slowly, increase oxygen demand by increasing your effort.
- Deepen your exhalation. Putting more focus on the exhale creates the space for the inhale. Most of us do not exhale the carbon completely, and it blocks space for new prana. The carbon also becomes a by-product of lactic acid, so you’re muscles will feel more sore if you don’t exhale completely. The best way to exhale completely is through deep nasal breathing.
- Mind the Gap.;Most of us go right from exhale to inhale and vice versa. The gap, or kumbhaka; is the space for beingness that opens between the doing of breathing. Mindfulness practices begin to open this gap, as awareness awakens into more subtle dimensions.;This morning in yoga class we worked with attuning to silence. The silence between the inhale/enhale and exhale/inhale. Cultivating the kumbhaka;during hatha yoga practice is yet another tool for cultivating greater lung capacity, and better absorption of prana.
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Improve Your Health And Lung Capacity
How we breathe is not something many of us reflect upon,at least not daily. Our breathing has such a huge impact on our overall well-being that more and more are starting to pay attention. Especially during times like these where we are wearing masks, quality breathing becomes even more important.
Obstructed breath can and will have an impact on your health in the long run. Therefore, we recommend you do some daily breathing exercises. Not only to improve your total lung capacity but also your health. It will have a positive effect on your well-being and help reduce stress, anxiety, sleep better. When you breathe better, youre also likely to become more mindful of your mind/body connection – another included benefit!
High Flier: Justin Shevlin Triathlete
Justin Shevlin, 36, admits that he will try anything if it gives him a competitive edge, and hes recently turned to both PowerBreathe and altitude training in order to boost his endurance. While he feels that both have been benecial in different ways, hes in no doubt which worked best.
From the minute I started altitude training I could feel the effects within three days, he says. PowerBreathe was good but though it only takes a few minutes its quite an effort and seemed to take longer to work, whereas with the altitude training you just feel so much more energised and efcient straight away, like taking a short cut.
Convinced, Shevlin has been regularly training in thinner air and is about to embark on a 10-day spell of sleeping in an oxygen tent. He says hes already over a minute faster on one of his regular sessions: three-mile reps.
He admits that altitude training may benet him particularly because he previously suffered from exercise-induced asthma, but he also believes everyone will get something out of it, because of the way it reduces perceived exertion.
When training at altitude your lungs start screaming at you immediately, so when you return to normal the difference is amazing it feels so much easier!