Can Exercise Improve Lung Function?

Instead of thinking of exercise as a commitment, think of it as lifestyle! Think of it as something you look forward to every day – not only for the joy of bodily movement, but also for its many benefits. Exercise helps reduce your waistline, increases your fitness levels, and strengthens your heart and muscles. However, exercise has another proven benefit – keeping your lungs healthy.  

When you work out, your heart and lungs must work harder to supply your muscles with the oxygen they need. Just as lifting weights can make your muscles stronger over time, consistent exercise also helps your lungs to more efficiently transport oxygen to your muscles. You may have noticed that when you first start an exercise regimen, you may become out of breath and feel tired very quickly. But over time, exercising (and increased breathing during exercise) seems to become easier as your lungs and cardiovascular system become stronger and are better able to disperse oxygen and blood through the body.  

In addition to aerobic exercise such as walking or cycling, lifting weights can have a profound effect on your lung capacity. Weightlifting can have benefits such as improving posture and strengthening your diaphragm, neck, and chest muscles that all work together for effective inhaling and exhaling.  

Exercise has countless benefits beyond lung health, including decreasing the risk of serious illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some forms of lung cancer. Additionally, an active lifestyle strengthens your bones, improves flexibility and agility, reduces weight gain, and can help improve your sleep and mood. Feelings of anxiety and depression can be decreased with a consistent exercise regimen, and attention and memory may benefit as well. Some studies even point to exercise as a method for reducing the risk of brain-related conditions later in life, such as Alzheimer’s disease.  

So, how can you reap the rewards of consistent exercise? A great rule of thumb is to get 30 minutes of moderate activity at least five days each week. You do not need a fancy fitness regimen or expensive gym equipment for these benefits either. A brisk walk, light jog, or jumping rope can get your heart pumping and your lungs engaged. Improving your posture and toning the muscles of the neck and chest can help to train your body to breathe more deeply.  

For a trimmer waistline, improved circulation, stronger heart, and healthier lungs, you can’t go wrong with a consistent exercise regimen!