by Davy Kestens in Health + Nutrition

Round-up on increasing your lung capacity

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This post will give you a summary of 5 articles explaining how you can increase your lung capacity, resulting in an overall rise of your endurance level.

At first, the plan was to write our own custom guide to increase your lung capacity. After we noticed the amount of quality articles offered by other websites, we decided to use those post to explain the key ingredients you need to increase your oxygen intake. Our summaries below will teach you the essence of the technique and provide new insights to improve your running skills.

The David Blaine Method

Let’s start with “How to hold your breath”, written by Timothy Ferris, author of “The Four Hour Workweek” and a Lifestyle Design enthusiast.

Start with

1:30 deep breathing
1:15 purging (Deeply exhaling as if you were trying to blow a toy sailboat across a pool, followed by a big but faster inhalation. If you feel like you’re going to pass out, do it less intensely)
Hold breath for target 1:30, no more

After 1:30

Take 3 semi-purge breaths (More forceful than deep breathing but less forceful than full purging. Used for recovering after each time trial.)
1:30 deep breathing
1:30 purging
Hold breath for target 2:30, no more

After 2:30

Take 3 semi-purge breaths
2:00 deep breathing
1:45 purging
Hold breath for as long as possible

After exhalation

Take 3-10 hard semi-purge breaths until your recover

Exercise in water

At wikiHow, we found a howto about increasing your lung size. Quoted below is the part we thought was most valuable.

Submerge yourself up to your neck, and do stretching and weight lifting exercises while in the water. This may not seem like it is doing anything to help you at all, but don’t worry. Due to the blood shifting into your chest cavity and the compression on your body, you will have to take shorter, quicker breaths when exercising in the water.

Research shows that your air capacity will be cut by up to 75% during this time, and your body will try to compensate for that. If your exercise in the water lasts long enough, and you do it regularly, your respiratory system will become more efficient, increasing your lung capacity.

Stop smoking!

It seems pretty obvious, but some people just won’t understand that their health will dramatically improve if they would just stop smoking! Below is a quote from “Improve Your Lung Capacity: Quit Smoking”, originally targetted at singers, telling you more about it.

No one likes to be preachy, but it should go without saying that smoking is one of the worst possible things for a runner, though countless people do it anyway (once upon a time, even yours truly).  At first, smoking doesn’t seem to effect your running but eventually the negative consequences are very obvious.
Most obviously, smoking affects lung capacity which we hear is somewhat important for good running performance.  It has been said that damage from cigarettes smoking can take up 6 months to be repaired by your body, and some things are irreparable.

Train at Higher Altitudes to Increase Lung Capacity

The Australian blog called “Upgrade your body” wrote “How to increase your lung capacity” containing an explanation about the advantage that geographical relocation can offer us.

Runners who are serious can train at higher altitudes before a race. Some athletes permanently live at high altitude, only returning to sea level to compete, but their training may suffer due to less available oxygen for workouts. Their lung capacity will be larger at higher altitudes of 2,500 m (8,000 ft) above sea level because there is less pressure from the atmosphere.At this altitude, there is only 74% as much oxygen available.

The body adapts to the relative lack of oxygen by increasing the concentration of red blood cells and haemoglobin. Once they come down to sea level, they have a larger overall lung capacity for 10 to 14 days because they will still have a higher concentration of red blood cells. But be careful. If you go too high and train too hard you could develop altitude sickness because your lungs can’t process enough oxygen for the body’s needs.

Push yourself beyond your normal level

Cardiovascular exercises (running for example) improve your lung capacity, so if you’re serious about it, try running a bit longer or faster than you’re used to. Read the entire article about exercises that increase your lung capacity at Associated Content’s Blog.

Whether you prefer walking, jogging, or running, pushing yourself beyond what you would normally do will increase your endurance as well as your lung capacity. Moving at a higher pace or moving at your typical pace for a longer period of time will contribute to both of these ends. Biking, both on an actual bike or a stationary bike, can provide the same benefits, but with less strain on the joints, specifically the knees. Also, during your workout try to avoid using short shallow breaths for oxygen and instead focus on deeper longer breaths.


Remember money can buy anything but not good health. If “health is wealth” is a commonly used proverb by you, it’s time to think about it. Keep in mind following few amazingly simple but useful tips and you can increase your lung capacity with minimum effort.

  • The David Blaine Method: Learn from experts the techniques of holding breath & taking deep breath through mouth, which is a key ingredient to maneuver lungs while running fast.
  • Exercise In Water: Increase the lung capacity and make respiratory system more effective, by training your body take shorter quicker breaths in situations where air supply is slow.Stop smoking: two words can change the way you live, believe it!
  • Higher Altitude Greater Capacity: Running in conditions where supply of oxygen is relatively low will definitely help runners to increase their lung capacity.
  • Push your limits of your daily workout. If you run 20 minutes every day, then start doing it for 30 minutes and it will slowly convert into hours. Just push your limits and increase your body endurance.

In the end, all I want to recall what Leslie Grimutter said “My own prescription for health is less paperwork and more running barefoot through the grass.”
Stay Healthy and check out RunAddicts often for more tips.

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